Leeds & West Yorkshire

Leeds police van set on fire and bricks thrown at officers

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Media captionThe police van was set alight on Halton Moor estate in Leeds

Bricks were thrown at police officers as they tried to put out a fire in a forensics van that had been torched.

The police crime scene investigation van had been called to Ullswater Cresent in Halton Moor, Leeds, at about 18:00 BST on Thursday when it was set alight.

West Yorkshire Police said the attack on officers was "completely unacceptable".

A 31-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage.

Officers were called to the scene on Thursday afternoon to reports a window had been smashed at a property.

While they were there, bricks were thrown at the officers and their van was then torched after they withdrew on foot.

When police back-up arrived to secure the scene and support firefighters, they were also attacked with bricks by a group of youths.

Image copyright YAPPAPP
Image caption Police said the attack on officers was "completely unacceptable"
Image caption Police were initially called to investigate a smashed window

Police said they were searching for others who were involved in the attack.

Ch Supt Steve Cotter said: "We are carrying out a comprehensive investigation and will be taking appropriately robust action against those we identify as being involved.

"The behaviour of a minority of local youths during this incident was completely unacceptable and I know the majority of the community are as shocked and disgusted as we are about what happened."

Peter Arnold, the head of regional scientific support services, said on Twitter: "My staff don't come to work expecting their van to be torched whilst examining a crime scene and keeping the public safe."

West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service said their crews were not targeted during the incident.

Image copyright YAPPAPP
Image caption The van was torched after officers withdrew on foot

West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson said: "This was a shocking attack on our policing services.

"I am just thankful that no officers or staff were physically hurt.

"However the resulting loss of a police vehicle of which the main role is to help get justice for victims of crime, as well as needlessly diverting officers away from other duties, is very disappointing."

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