Police attacked and missiles thrown as officers tackle illegal trading at Birmingham midnight market

Pop-up stalls appear throughout the holy month of Ramadan in Small Heath Credit: ITV Central

Police were attacked while cracking down on illegal street trading in Birmingham.

West Midlands Police were undertaking a joint operation with Birmingham City Council investigating illegal street trading when they faced backlash.

One officer suffered a minor injury when a bottle was thrown, as a large crowd gathered on Coventry Road and Ladypool Road in Small Heath.

A number of missiles were thrown at police vehicles during the disorder, which happened at around 1.30am on Sunday 16 April.

Pop-up stalls appear selling food and clothes around the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and they continue until daybreak when fasting begins again.

Thousands of people visit the stalls - but people nearby say they're fed up with the traffic, the noise, the litter and with roads being blocked.

  • Our Business Correspondent Mark Gough previously spoke to some local residents who said the stalls are affecting their daily life

Police have been working with the council after listening to concerns from councillors, MPs, Imams, local traders and residents who raised concerns about traffic, noise, litter, roads being blocked and anti-social behaviour.

Both West Midlands Police and Birmingham City Council say they want people observing the holy month of Ramadan to enjoy the celebrations, but they want to ensure it’s done safely and within the law.

In a statement, they told ITV News Central: "We’re aware that some illegal traders have flouted the law, and those who continue to do so – by trading illegally or obstructing roads – will be reported and face legal action.

"Their investigators will now be examining body-worn video and social media footage of last night’s events, and are appealing for anyone with information to come forward."

Police and the council were attending the midnight market in Small Heath to crack down on illegal trading Credit: ITV Central

Det Ch Insp David Sproson, from Birmingham Police, said: “It’s completely unacceptable that officers who were there last night to make the community a safer and better place were met with such hostility.

"We were there at the request of the community to deal with concerns which they had raised, and so what happened last night is intolerable.

"We’re now investigating a number of reports of criminal damage, as well as the assault on our officer and those responsible are being sought and will face prosecution.

"I’d urge the parents and friends of those involved in what happened last night to speak to them about the potential impact of their behaviour last night.

"They are risking arrest and prosecution and must be aware of the impact a criminal record can have on their future prospects.   

"We will also be working with the community over the next few days to reaffirm our position that we are responding to the community’s concerns.”

A spokesman for Birmingham City Council said: “We want people observing the holy month of Ramadan to enjoy celebrations, and we want to ensure it’s done safely and within the law for the benefit of the whole community.

“What happened was totally unacceptable - officers were simply doing their job as part of this joint operation, organised in response to local concerns.

“We’d urge anyone with information to contact the police.”