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Hydrant pranksters slated by MP; POLICE AND FIRE SERVICE CALLED ON TO HELP COMBAT PROBLEM.

Byline: By STEPHEN HALLMARK

A COVENTRY MP has slammed youths for toying with fire hydrants and then pelting engineers with stones when they come out to turn them off.

The drive to tackle the moronic behaviour has been backed by Bob Ainsworth (Lab, North east).

Mr Ainsworth has written to the police and fire service to ask them to protect Severn Trent Water staff when they go to turn off fire hydrants in Stoke Aldermoor.

He said: "Gangs of youths are turning on water hydrants and draining the system, which leaves households without water.

"When Severn Trent's staff turn out to turn the hydrants off, their employees are attacked.

"It was a real problem in Wood End, until the police and fire services worked together to secure the hydrants. Let's hope the same can be achieved in Stoke."

Severn Trent's customer manager Fraser Pithie said they were experiencing "serious problems" on the estate.

He said: "The youths are often encouraged by adults and parents.

"Sometimes our staff are attacked by youths, who stone them and their vehicles.

"Unfortunately the police and fire service aren't always able to respond to our pleas for help, so we are unable to go and turn the hydrants off."

Mr Ainsworth said similar problems had been successfully tackled in Wood End by police uniting with the fire service, community leaders and Severn Trent, and he wanted the same tactic employed in Stoke Aldermoor.

stephen.hallmark@mrn.co.uk

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WHAT A NUISANCE: MP Bob Ainsworth, who says gangs of youths are draining the water supply in Stoke Aldermoor
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Aug 27, 2004
Words:264
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