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Dartmouth Park fireworks display: Lucky escape as yob throws firework near pram

Sandwell | News | Published:

The first major firework displays have been held in Sandwell since three people were injured by a firework at an event last year.

Thousands of families turned out for the annual bonfire at Dartmouth Park, in West Bromwich, yesterday.

But the fun was marred for some families after a gang of yobs threw three rockets on the park's main pathway, near to the cenotaph.

Witness Adam Williams, of Tividale, said one of the fireworks had gone near a child's pram but quick thinking by the youngster's father had stopped the situation becoming more serious.

Another had gone near to a young family.

He said it had been an upsetting experience for some of the youngsters and their parents.

Mr Williams said it had taken place at around 8pm while the main firework display was still underway and the majority of people were nearest the bonfire watching the firework display.

Mr Williams said: "I was on the main pathway near to the cenotaph when a rocket came whizzing past my shoulder.

"They were being thrown by a gang of youths.

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"Thankfully no-one was hurt as there were obviously a lot of children and families around at the time.

"It was really upsetting and some of the children were in tears. It makes you so angry to think anyone would do this."

Natalie and Lewis Poole, both from Tipton, are pictured with daughter Harper, aged 1 at the fireworks display in West Bromwich

Sandwell Council confirmed what had happened and said it had been 'an isolated incident'.

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Councillor Maria Crompton, cabinet member for highways and environment, said: " A group of people were caught throwing fireworks.

"They were swiftly escorted out of the park and their remaining fireworks confiscated.

"It is a shame some irresponsible people thought it a good idea to throw fireworks but it was dealt with quickly and no-one was hurt."

She said nearly 20,000 people had attended the Dartmouth Park bonfire and another event staged at Victoria Park, in Smethwick.

Clockwise from front at Dartmouth Park: Cara Lily Copley aged 7, Claire Ellis, Stephen Copley, and Chelsea Copley aged 16, all from Kingstanding.

Another event was due to be held tonight at Jubilee Park in Tipton.

A display normally held at Brunswick Park, in Wednesbury, was moved to Tipton after three people were hurt when a stray rocket shot into the crowd last year.

Although the accident was due to a faulty firework, Sandwell Council said the park could not cope with such a high number of visitors and decided to hold the event in Tipton this year.

At the Dartmouth Park event, the bonfire was lit at 6.30pm with huge crowds gathering from when the event opened at 5.30pm.

The fireworks display, which prompted huge cheers from the crowd, started at around 7.45pm.

Among the visitors to the event were Lewis, Natalie and one-year-old Harper Poole, from Tipton.

Mr Poole said: "We came last year and thought we would come along again to see the display.

"Everything is also in one place and there is a lot for families to do. It is not just about the bonfire and fireworks display there is also the funfair and other activities."

Mark Atkinson was at the event with his three-year-old daughter Mia.

He said: "We come to the display every year.

"There is always a good turn-out at the event."

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