Man arrested after firework sparks blaze during Liverpool celebrations
Firework shot at Liver building as fans celebrate Liverpool win
A man has been arrested on suspicion of arson after a firework was thrown at the Liver Building as thousands of Liverpool fans celebrated their club’s Premier League win.
Merseyside Police said the 19-year-old from Scarisbrick, Lancashire, was being questioned after the fire, started when the firework landed on a balcony, caused damage worth £10,000 to the iconic building as fans gathered in the city centre on Friday.
A 26-year-old man had been charged with grievous bodily harm following a serious assault on a man in the crowd, the force said.
Officers were subject to ‘violent confrontations’ and 15 others were arrested for offences of public order, affray and being drunk and disorderly as several thousand supporters gathered at the city’s Pier Head for a second night of celebrations after Liverpool won the Premier League for the first time in 30 years.
Craig Campbell, of Lemon Street in Kirkdale, was charged with grievous bodily harm after a 32-year-old man suffered serious head injuries when he was attacked during the mass gathering, police said.
The 26-year-old is due to appear at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
Merseyside Police Assistant Chief Constable Jon Roy said two officers needed medical treatment for injuries to their backs after bottles were thrown at them as they went to the victim of the assault.
He said later a group of about 100 people threw glasses and bottles at riot police as they tried to stop them committing acts of disorder in the city centre.
‘Specially trained officers in protective kit had to disperse them and we then had a number of really violent, absolutely unacceptable, incidents of violence and disorder throughout the city centre,’ he said.
In a joint statement with police and Liverpool City Council, the football club condemned the scenes as ‘wholly inappropriate’.
The statement said: ‘The potential danger of a second peak of Covid-19 still exists and we need to work together to make sure we don’t undo everything that has been achieved as a region during lockdown.’
Deputy chief executive of the North West Ambulance Service Mick Forrest said crews were sent to 34 emergencies around the city’s waterfront and 27 patients were taken to hospital, with three in a serious condition, while seven patients were treated at the scene.
Mr Roy said by the time officers arrived at the Pier Head at about 4pm, around 500 people were already there and within 35 minutes the numbers had doubled and people were continuing to arrive.
He said the decision was made to safely manage the situation after the risk of police intervention was assessed.
A Section 34 dispersal order was later put in place for the city centre, allowing police to disperse the crowds who had gathered.
Mr Roy said a seven-day policing operation was under way to try and prevent further gatherings and CCTV was being examined to identify those involved on Friday.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson wrote a letter to the people of Liverpool to express his ‘sadness and disappointment’.
He said: ‘Seeing thousands of people congregating at the Pier Head into the early hours and the ugly scenes shared on social media afterwards was heartbreaking to see.
‘Fireworks, flares and tonnes of litter, amount to nothing but disrespect for our city. Like many others, I became emotional out of frustration at what I was seeing.
‘This mindless behaviour has the potential to damage Liverpool’s reputation – both the club’s and the city. I don’t believe this is how the team would like their achievement to be remembered.’
Chief Constable Andy Cooke said the actions of a minority were ‘not only irresponsible, but criminal’.
He said: ‘For the good of your city, your club, and most importantly those who are at highest risk of dying of this disease, stay at home and keep others safe.’