Rioters will be brought to justice after vigil violence, say police

·3-min read

Rioters who set cars on fire and threw missiles at police after a vigil turned violent will be brought to justice, a senior police officer has vowed.

A major clean-up is under way after cars were burnt out and bricks thrown through residents’ windows in the Mayhill area of Swansea on Thursday night.

Cars were set on fire in the middle of the road and crowds cheered as a vehicle was rolled down a steep hill.

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Seven officers suffered scratches and bruises when they were pelted with missiles but did not require hospital treatment.

The evening had started peacefully when a vigil was held for a local teenager who had died suddenly. Police are investigating the “trigger” that caused the night to turn ugly.

Jeremy Vaughan, Chief Constable of South Wales Police, said those responsible for the disorder would face “robust action” and the force would “stop at nothing” to bring them to justice.

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First Minister Mark Drakeford condemned the “completely unacceptable” scenes and said the violence would “not be tolerated anywhere in Wales”.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Absolutely disgraceful scenes in Swansea last night. My thoughts are with Mayhill residents who had to endure such shocking behaviour.

“Police have my backing to take robust action against those involved.”

Swansea Council said it was “responding at pace” to the disturbance, with officers assisting with “clean-up operations, helping with repairs and reassuring residents”.

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Assistant Chief Constable Jenny Gilmer said there would be an increased police presence over the weekend to ensure there is no repeat.

“What occurred last night was absolutely unacceptable and something that we rarely see here on the streets of South Wales,” she told reporters.

“We are still trying to understand what the trigger point or catalyst was.

“These are scenes we don’t expect in our communities and our officers should not expect to have to confront situations like this.

Swansea disorder
Boarded up houses at the top of Waun Wen Road (Ben Birchall/PA)

“If those involved choose to return and further threaten public safety they will be robustly dealt with.

“The level of violence towards emergency services and the damage to buildings and vehicles was totally unacceptable.”

Officers said they were using CCTV and social media footage to identify those responsible and urged people to send in any photos or videos.

Rob Stewart, leader of Swansea Council, also condemned the “absolutely disgusting behaviour by yobs”.

Contractors place heavy concrete barriers at the top of Waun Wen Road after Thursday night's rioting (Ben Birchall/PA)
Contractors place heavy concrete barriers at the top of Waun Wen Road after Thursday night’s rioting (Ben Birchall/PA)

Alun Michael, South Wales’ police and crime commissioner, added: “I was extremely saddened to hear that some officers called to the incident were injured, though thankfully not seriously.

“It is now critical that those responsible are identified and held to account for their actions.”

Simon Hart, Secretary of State for Wales, described the scenes as “disgraceful”.

Tom Giffard, Welsh Conservative member of the Senedd for South Wales West, said the disorder was “disturbing”.

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