There have been multiple reports of fireworks being used to frighten and injure University of Manchester students around Fallowfield on the evening of Halloween, at the height of the festivities.
Roma Havers, a third year English and Drama student, told The Mancunion that at around 10.30pm on the 31st of October 2016, on Moseley Road, she “heard the sound of firecrackers and looked round and could see the smoke from across the road very close to the ground”, and that a firecracker had been thrown from a car. Almost immediately after this, another one came “flying past”, and it was “really loud, smoky and bright”.
Many reports described three men dressed in white masks as the perpetrators of the attacks. Fuse FM’s Head of Drama, third year student Will Vincent, said that these men came to his home in the Ladybarn area and proceeded to throw a firework into his hallway, which scorched the stairs.
Writing on Facebook, Will said that himself and his housemates were “shaken… up a bit” by the incident, and encouraged all those staying in for Halloween to “stay safe”.
Will told The Mancunion that initially, the three men told him that they were trick or treaters. His housemate wanted to give them the sweets, but when she went back to the front door, she said that they refused them, and at that point, “one of them produced a lighter and started pointing a firework inside”. They all ran for cover, and Will said all he could see was “white light and smoke”. They were all very disturbed by the ordeal, especially as one housemate had thought that one of the men had had a gun.
Ethan Davies, a second year PPE student, told The Mancunion that what appeared to be the same three men attacked him and his friends on their way to a club. “They stared us down,” said Ethan, after which “out of nowhere literally this firework came toward” them. It hit his friend Sam, who said it stung but left no permanent damage.
Marina Jenkins and her friend were also approached by the same three men on the street. They were walking down Egerton Road at about 9pm yesterday evening. She described four men rather than three, all still in white masks, who were cycling up and down the road and shouting at her and her friend, and to each other.
Marina said she “saw one of the boys holding something in his hand, to begin with I thought it was a knife from the way he was holding it”. The boys apparently then started throwing the fireworks, unperturbed by the fact the road was busy, according to Marina, and that lots of people had seen them do it. Marina did try to phone Greater Manchester Police on 101 three times, but received no answer. She said that the events of last night had left her feeling “unsafe”.
Greater Manchester Police have said this morning: “We received a call yesterday at 9.20pm to report that a firework had been set off in doorway of a home on Edgeworth Drive. We are now investigating and we’re asking anyone with information to call us on 101.”