CHILDREN as young as 12 ambushed firefighters and pelted them with sticks and stones.
Five crew members from Scottish Fire and Rescue Service were attacked by the gang, all of whom police said were under 16 years old, as they battled a blaze started in wheelie bins.
The crew were pelted with sticks and stones as they tackled the fire in woodland in Glenrothes, Fife.
The fire started after wheelie bins belonging to householders were deliberately set alight last Friday evening.
Police are now asking anyone who witnessed the sickening assault to come forward.
No firefighters were injured in the incident, which happened at around 8pm.
They had responded to a call warning of the fire in woodland on Poplar Road in Glenrothes, and extinguished it using beaters and water backpacks.
However a large group of boys and girls hurled missiles including sticks and stones at the firefighters as they fought to contain the blaze.
Station Manager Graham Arnott said: “I am sure the public would be outraged by this incident where their firefighters have been targeted while working to protect people and property.
“Attacks on emergency responders are completely unacceptable.
“Those responsible should know that the authorities take their mindless criminal actions extremely seriously and we work closely with police to ensure they are identified and held to account.
Glenrothes Community police Sergeant Kenny Greig said: “A number of wheelie bins belonging to local people were set alight, however, thanks to the quick response of the fire service, the damage was contained.
“These fires had the potential to put the public in serious danger and I would remind those responsible that what may seem a prank is a serious criminal offence and if caught you will be charged and reported.
“Officers are now conducting local enquiries to identify those responsible for this crime and anyone with information that can assist with these investigations is asked to come forward. “