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Bonfire Night appeal from council and fire service

Wirral Council and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service have issued a joint appeal ahead of Bonfire Night for last night’s scenes in Woodchurch not to be repeated.

Wirral Council leader, Cllr Janette Williamson, said: “I understand people's frustrations and their desire for some normality. Bonfire night is something communities really look forward to - we know that from the ongoing popularity of the community firework displays we usually provide.

“However, right now, we are not in normal times. We are in midst of what will be a serious resurgence of a deadly global pandemic if we don't get control of its transmission. 

“Mass gatherings are just a 'no' right now, particularly ones that lead to unrest and members of our heroic emergency services coming under attack. They are just doing their job.

“Out of the 200 plus people apparently at last night's bonfire in Woodchurch, I have no doubt that the majority behaved well, were conscious of social distancing and wearing a face covering. But the behaviour of others was unacceptable and a disgrace to the community.  It does not take many people to let everyone else down and possibly - if one of those people was carrying the infection unknowingly - for them to trigger an outbreak in their community.

“We have seen the devastation that this illness can cause for families and it is simply not worth putting people at risk for the sake of a community bonfire and a few fireworks. Let's stop this now and do things properly next year.”

Ben Ryder, Group Manager from Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, said: “We know it’s Bonfire Night and there are certain traditions that go along with this occasion. But 2020 isn’t like every other year and now more than ever we all need to work together to keep our communities, and the most vulnerable among them, safe.

“We are in a national lockdown. You should only be leaving your home for specific essential reasons.

“Building a bonfire on public land is not essential and it is not allowed. If we’re called to a bonfire on public land, it will be extinguished.

“We are not trying to spoil people’s fun, we’re not trying to ruin ‘tradition’ – we simply want to keep people safe.”