A CHAOTIC evening for emergency services saw groups of vandals steal wheelie bins and set them alight and firefighters attacked by youths who threw a firework at them.

Bonfire Night is always a busy time for emergency services but this year has seen a number of incidents in which crews were attacked in the street, prompting firefighters to urge change.

At around 8.30pm yesterday (Tuesday) a fire engine from Whitefield Fire Station was called to reports that bins had been set on fire in York Street, Radcliffe.

On arriving in the area, the crew was able to make sure the incident was safe but as they went to leave they were attacked by group of eight youngsters who threw a firework towards them.

Watch manager Tim Eaton recounted the experience.

He said: "It was a couple of wheelie bins on wasteland that had been stolen from the property opposite and set on fire.

"But, as we were leaving we were deliberately targeted by youths. They were down an alleyway and they launched fireworks straight at us."

The police, who had already been called to the scene by concerned neighbours, chased the youths but were unable to catch any of the attackers.

"It could have been a lot more serious," Mr Eaton said.

"If they had hit one of us or damaged the fire engine we would have been out of the picture. "At the end of the day, we have all got homes to go to."

The incident in Whitefield was mimicked for firefighters in other parts of Greater Manchester, including in Hyde where a group of 40 youths threw fireworks at a crew attending an incident.

Elsewhere, there were a number of cases of bins being set alight, including incidents in Broad Oak Lane, Fairfield, Toronto Street, Breightmet, and in Moss Bank Park, in Bolton.

Bolton North watch manager John Wheeldon, who was forced to take a crew to Moss Bank Park, offered advice to people on where to keep their bins.

He said: "We recommend you bring your bins in promptly after they have been emptied and if possible keep them somewhere secure."