Merseyside police are investigating an attack this past Monday 5th November around 20.20pm on a Liverpool rough sleeper who suffered significant leg and hand injuries from a firework, allegedly being placed in his pocket. It is one of a spate of incidents this season and across the UK which has bolstered a petition that sales of fireworks to the public should be banned.
While outside Lime Street Station on Monday evening, the homeless man, reported to be an established rough sleeper and an army ex-serviceman in his late 30s, said he felt one of four teenagers brush past him and “within seconds” he could smell burning. The cruel thug mockingly saying to “have a sparkling good night mate” while leaving him to suffer.
Paper Cup Project
The Paper Cup Project is an outreach scheme in the area that aims to help the homeless in Liverpool by providing food, clothing, a listening ear and to raise awareness of homelessness. Volunteer at the organisation, Andy Shute said he helped the victim after the “appalling” and “inhumane” attack in the city. Mr Shute said the army veteran told him that the firework burnt through his coat and trousers and that “it was only the wallet in his pocket that gave his leg a bit of protection.” The rough sleeper also suffered burns to his fingers as he tried to remove the firework.
“He looked down and his coat was smouldering. He said he’d dealt with flashbangs in the army so he grabbed hold of it as tightly as he could. It went off and burnt through his coat and on to his leg.”
Shute said the victim told him he should probably go to a hospital but that “our type aren’t welcome up there.” Shute described the homeless man as “a really lovely, very well spoken guy.”
“It’s just animalistic behaviour,” Shute said.
The horrific and heartless attack has shocked the Liverpool community and has received widespread condemnation. Mayor Joe Anderson repeated his call that attacks on rough sleepers should be classified as hate crimes.
Chief Inspector Paddy Kelly said the “shocking incident” would not be tolerated and they were determined to find the offenders and they were urgently trying to trace the victim.
Merseyside Police said their enquiries were ongoing. They have not yet located the victim and are appealing for anyone with information to come forward.
Anyone with information about the incident in Liverpool should call Merseyside Police on 101 quoting reference number 1216 of 5/11/18 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.