Residents' fears as home secretary backs police to take 'robust action' following Swansea riot

Police have promised an "enhanced" presence on the streets of Mayhill over the weekend following violent scenes during a riot in Swansea on Thursday night.

The Home Secretary Priti Patel has condemned the riot and a police investigation is underway after cars were set alight, homes were damaged along with emergency service vehicles when more than 200 people gathered on Thursday evening.

Ms Patel described the scenes as "absolutely disgraceful".

She posted on Twitter saying her thoughts were with the residents of Mayhill "who had to endure such shocking behaviour".

  • Shocking footage shows a car being damaged and rolled down a hill during Thursday's riot

Hundreds of people gathered on Thursday where vehicles were set on fire, houses damaged and police vehicles attacked.

Investigations are now underway and police say they will be doing all they can to identify those responsible.

South Wales Police Assistant Chief Constable Jenny Gilmore said the force was confident it would identify all of those involved and bring criminal proceedings against them.

Seven police officers were injured during the course of the riot, she added.

She also defended the forces's actions and tactics on Thursday night, with police making no arrests at the scene and some residents saying they still felt vulnerable despite the police presence.

She said: "We saw disorder, violence and criminality on the streets of Mayhill...that is something that we're not used to seeing here on the streets of south Wales.

"What we saw last night was disgusting behaviour, utterly unacceptable and caused a great deal of distress, alarm and fear amongst the local community.

"The numbers of people who were involved last night were significant, we had up to 200 people involved at some points in time.

"The priority of our officers is always going to be to keep people safe, everything else can be picked up later.

"The numbers of officers to break up a crowd of that size is far in excess of what we were able to deploy last night.

"So I'm confident the right decisions were made."

Police were seen in riot gear as emergency vehicles were targeted

Shocking footage appeared on social media showing cars on fire and people cheering as vehicles were stamped on and rolled down a hill at high speed.

The First Minister Mark Drakeford described the scenes as "completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated anywhere in Wales."He thanked South Wales Police for bringing the situation under control and "continuing to monitor it closely this morning."

The riot broke out shortly after 7pm during a vigil for a local young man who had recently died.

After fireworks were thrown, violence and chaos erupted.

A smashed up car was rolled down a hill towards peoples' homes. Police have asked anyone with footage of the incident to submit it to them.

Residents in the area described the disorder as "disgusting" and "shocking".

  • 'I'm packing up my home and I'm leaving'

One woman who lives close to where the riot happened told ITV News she has decided to pack up her home "and leave" following the disturbance.

"When I arrived home, cars were on fire, it was horrendous. My son is four so it's not a place I want to live anymore", she said.

"The safest thing I can do is up and leave. If this has happened now, what could possibly happen next?"

  • 'I saw my mother having a panic attack'

Eyewitness Andzejs Dubjaga who also lives nearby also told ITV News he saw his mother have a panic attack during the riot.

"I was making sure to try to calm everyone down. Seeing my sister panicking locked in the other room furthest away from this just so she doesn’t see stuff like this.”

“I thought it [the fire] was going to catch onto the fence and go onto the roof so my mother had everyone ready just in case we had to leave through the back garden. We planned for the worst really in case we had to leave."

  • 'He would have been heartbroken to have seen what happened'

The family of 19-year-old Ethan Powell, whose vigil erupted into violence said he would have been 'heartbroken' at the scenes

The family of a man whose death prompted the rioting condemned those who took part saying he would have been "heartbroken to have seen what happened".

Ethan Powell collapsed hours after watching Swansea City on television with his grandfather on Tuesday evening. His cause of death has yet to be determined.

In a statement, his family said, "He would have been trying to stop it - it is not something he would have wanted to see or be associated with.

"We can't understand why there were people there laughing.

"To see that going on in Ethan's name is devastating.  We feel for all those who've been victims of this horrendous incident."

In a statement, the police said the response to the incident was "immediate" and officers trained to deal with public order incidents were deployed to the scene.

Crowds were finally dispersed around 1am on Friday morning, police said.

Superintendent Tim Morgan said: “Last night’s incident was totally unacceptable and we will be doing all we can to identify those responsible.“I want to reassure the community of Mayhill that those involved can expect to face robust action. Post incident investigations have already started to identify all those concerned.”

Workers were seen cleaning up the area where a car was set on fire and where another was pushed down a hill

South Wales Police said officers were appealing for people not to return to the area and added there would be a "very visible presence" on Friday and over the weekend.

Residents are helping to clean up the area.

"However, if those involved choose to return and further threaten public safety in the community of Mayhill they will be robustly dealt with by numerous police resources that remain on duty," the statement read.

The force is also encouraging anyone with footage of the incident to submit it to them.

The leader of Swansea Council condemned the violence and the "disgusting behaviour by yobs".

In a Facebook post, Cllr Rob Stewart said, "This is completely unacceptable and inexcusable behaviour. Our thoughts are with the residents who have had to put up with this utterly despicable behaviour in our community.

"Our officers have linked in with the police who have been on the scene for sometime.

"We will support the police to identify, pursue and prosecute those that have organised and participated in this criminal activity."

Anyone with photos, videos or information should contact South Wales police.

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