In Brief

Police hunt group who put lit firework in homeless man's pocket

Rough sleeper suffered burns to hand and leg after incident near Liverpool Lime Street station

Police in Liverpool are searching for a group of youths who allegedly planted a lit firework in a homeless army veteran’s pocket.

The rough sleeper was sitting near the city’s central Lime Street station at around 8pm on Bonfire Night when he says he was approached by four teenagers, one of whom shoved the pyrotechnic into his jacket, the Wirral Globe reports.

The device “tore through his clothes and caused him multiple injuries”, including burns to his hand and leg, the Liverpool Echo reports.

“As they walked past him one of them said ‘have a sparking good night mate’, and after that he could smell burning and see his jacket was alight,” homeless outreach worker Andy Shute told the Press Association. He identified the rough sleeper as Robbie, a longstanding member of Liverpool’s homeless community.

“He told us that he had served in the armed forces and had seen active duty - and used his experience to grab the firework and chuck it away,” he said.

Shrute described the victim as a “really lovely, well spoken guy” and said he was “stunned” by the senseless attack.

“It’s just animalistic behaviour,” he told The Guardian.  “Society scares me at times that we’re so uncaring. He could have lost his leg last night and that’s not an exaggeration.”

Police are now trying to trace the homeless victim as well as the perpetrators of the attack.

Merseyside Police Chief Inspector Paddy Kelly said that officers are examining CCTV footage, and urged anyone with any information to come forward.

“This appears to be a shocking incident and currently our main priority is to locate the victim and ensure he is safe and well,” he said.

“To misuse fireworks is highly irresponsible behaviour which will not be tolerated and we are determined to locate the offenders and put them before the courts.” 

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