Firefighters were attacked in Ardrossan last month, the Herald can exclusively reveal.

The shocking incident happened on the evening of Tuesday, March 16, when objects were thrown at the crew as they attended reports of an open fire in Ardrossan’s Central Avenue just before 8pm.

No injuries were sustained with the incident reported to the police.

It’s not the first time crews have been called out to the street with 22 incidents of deliberate fire setting in the Central Avenue area being recorded in just the space of eight weeks between January and March with the incidents becoming a real cause for concern for residents, shop owners and the emergency services.

The Herald understands that the situation is so serious in the area that the police also have to be alerted when fire crews are called out to reports of fires in Central Avenue over fears the situation could escalate.

Area commander Ian McMeekin is the local senior officer for East, North and South Ayrshire and has vowed that “violence against our crews will not be tolerated”.

He said: “During an eight week period from January to March this year, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service crews attended 22 incidents of deliberate fire setting in the Central Avenue area of Ardrossan.

“At an incident on March 16, objects were thrown at firefighters as they attended a fire in the open.

“The safety and welfare of our staff is of paramount importance.

“Attacks on emergency responders are completely unacceptable and violence against our crews will not be tolerated.

“This type of behaviour not only prevents our crews from bringing any emergency to a safe and swift conclusion but it can impact on our emergency service colleagues including the police when they have to escort us at the scene.

“This behaviour is often down to a very small minority of individuals and our firefighters and community action teams continue to work extremely hard to engage with the public and promote safety messages.”

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is already working with its partners including Police Scotland and North Ayrshire Council to address fire-related anti-social behaviour in the area of Central Avenue.

Anyone with information about violence towards the emergency services or deliberate fire-raising should contact the free and confidential Crimestoppers helpline on 0800 555 111.