a COUNCILLOR this week told how he narrowly escaped being blinded in a firework attack which blew out the letterbox of his home.
Jimmy Coyle, convener of North Lanarkshire Council’s Bellshill local area committee, was sitting relaxing at his home in Holytown when the attack took place last Monday night.
A banger pushed through his letterbox exploded, blowing the box right out and sending the flap of the box hurtling into his living room where it hit Councillor Coyle in the face.
Councillor Coyle suffered a cut to his head and severe bruising - and admitted he was fortunate his injuries were not much worse.
He said: “I was sitting in the house and felt something hit me on the side of the face and then heard a boom. I actually thought my fire had blown up.
“I put my hand up to my face and it was covered in blood and then saw the flap from the letter box was lying in the room. The firework had blown the letter box right out and the flap had come flying through the living room and hit me in the face.
“I was very lucky. What has saved my eye has been the leg of my glasses. They were badly bent and but for them it would have gone right into my eye.”
Although Councillor Coyle was able to clean himself up and didn’t require hospital treatment he was badly shaken by the incident and was left suffering constant headaches and a tightness around the eyes.
He said: “I would like to think this was a random incident - which is bad enough in itself - but I don’t know whether someone has thought they would gain some kind of kudos by making me a target.
“Either way I think the police have been slow to chase it up and am not impressed by their involvement.
“I was given a list of names of people who may have been responsible and phoned the police to tell them.
“They said they would be round to look at the names and discuss the matter further with me, but no-one came and I think greater urgency should have been shown in checking.”
Councillor Coyle also said his experience had reinforced his opinion that fireworks should only be permitted for organised displays.
He said: “I have always held the view that there should be a total ban on the sale of fireworks and to me this incident only highlights the dangers they pose.
“This firework wasn’t a small banger and I suspect it may be an illegal one but even although there is a licensing system in place I don’t think they should be sold over the counter to members of the public and their use should be restricted to organised displays.”
Another incident involving a fireworks happened in Holytown’s Stevenston Street on Saturday night when a firework was thrown out of a car, landing at the feet of a local man Gordon Reid who was out walking his dog.
He said: “I had time to pick my dog up and run the opposite direction before it exploded. Luckily no-one was injured however this could have been a serious injury and my dog has been left badly shaken.”
However Bellshill Police Communities Inspector Stewart Hurry hit back at Councillor Coyle’s criticisms.
He inisisted: “Every fireworks incident reported to police is taken seriously and investigated as thoroughly as possible, particularly where injury or the risk of injury exists.
“A number of incidents have been reported within the locality but they have not been concentrated within a particular area.
“Police will continue to work with partners in Trading Standards and Strathclyde Fire and Rescue to minimise the disruption to the community and minimise the risk of further serious incidents.”