Police Helicopter Called In After Sheffield School Fight Escalates Into Mass Brawl

Chris York
Police at the scene outside Fir Vale School in Sheffield, which had to close early following an 'incident'.

Large numbers of police were called to a secondary school in Sheffield after a disturbance among pupils escalated when scores of adults arrived outside.

At least 15 police vehicles – including a dog team – a number of ambulances and a helicopter arrived at Fir Vale School following reports of an incident on the premises just before 1pm on Tuesday.

People who gathered later in the afternoon said hundreds of people arrived at the gates of the school after hearing about fighting between students which started in the dining room.

They said people were trying to get over the fence and some were carrying weapons, including a baseball bat.

Witnesses said the problems outside the school were rooted in longstanding tensions between Slovak Roma people and other communities in the Page Hall area.

Many of the police vehicles left the school late on Tuesday afternoon but a high-visibility police presence remained on the streets of Page Hall.

South Yorkshire Police said in a statement: “At around 12.55pm this afternoon, police were called to Fir Vale School on Owler Lane, following reports of an altercation between a group of students.

“Officers were deployed and on arrival found that a large number of people had gathered at the gates.

“The crowds have now dispersed and officers remain in the area, liaising with the school. No-one is believed to have been injured.”

The Yorkshire Ambulance Service said two people were treated for minor injuries at the scene.

There were conflicting reports about the size of the crowd which gathered outside the school and what they were doing.

One man, who did not wish to be named, said: “There were hundreds of people, a thousand people outside the fence. They were carrying all kinds of things – baseball bats, pieces of wood.

“They were trying to get over. It was chaos.”

He said: “I went in and got my daughter out. The police threatened to arrest me but I was going in.”

Another man said: “The police told me every available copper in Sheffield is here – every single one. They’re just worried it’s really going to kick off.”

Tensions in the Page Hall area of Sheffield hit the headlines four years ago when the then local MP David Blunkett said he feared problems could escalate into violence.

The school was opened by the Queen in 2003.

Earlier this year a car drove into the school car park and crashed through the front doors in the foyer.

A notice on the school’s website said: “An incident in school has meant we will be closing at 2pm.

“All pupils are safe.

“Any child who should not leave early will be supervised on site in our library.”