TEEN thugs are continuing to put lives at risk by misusing fireworks - in defiance of a high visibility campaign by cops.

Last week Police Scotland launched a firework safety campaign in Pollokshields in a bid to tackle ongoing dangerous anti-social behaviour in the area.

But despite an increase in patrols and a mobile police office in the heart of the community, this weekend was blighted by ongoing firework misuse.

On Saturday night locals reported seeing a gang of young people throwing fireworks on St Andrew's Drive.

Other residents said youths were setting off fireworks in Maxwell Park.

And there were reports of fireworks being thrown into a garden in area.

Police said when they arrived at Maxwell Park the youngsters fled - however, one was caught and returned to his parents.

Pollokshields has been plagued by firework misuse for several years now, with the situation coming to a head in 2018 when riot police were called in after a gang of around 40 boys and men started launching rockets at cops.

Locals said there has been an improvement this year - but fireworks are still being set off in the community.

Last year Police Scotland, the fire service, Glasgow City Council, local groups and politicians joined forces to try to ensure there was no repeat of 2018's horrendous scenes.

Glasgow Times:

At a public meeting in the community, Nicola Sturgeon and local MP Alison Thewliss pledged to do their bit to ensure a tightening of legislation over the sale of fireworks.

The laws around fireworks sales are reserved to Westminster.

At that meeting a local resident brought an industrial firework she had found lying in the street.

While Ms Thewliss has been campaigning for change at Westminster, the Scottish Government set up a fireworks review group, which should have published its findings earlier this year.

However, due to coronavirus restrictions this report has been delayed until the end of October.

Pollokshields community campaigner Danny Phillips said: "Fireworks remain a danger in Scotland.

"They are too powerful and too easily get in the hands of those who misuse them.

"Pollokshields campaign against fireworks wants them to only be used in licensed displays.

"We need to remember that while areas like Pollokshields are visited by a mobile police van and we have youth workers on our streets looking out for problems, the Scottish Government have not made any of the reforms they promised.

Glasgow Times:

"We also hear that there are many other communities across Scotland who, like us, feel under siege in the run up to bonfire night and other civic celebrations, First Minister.

"Nicola Sturgeon attended a community meeting in Pollokshields and promised action, including legislation.

"People in Pollokshields expect her to keep her promises."

The Glasgow Times joined officers on Friday night in Maxwell Square where a mobile police office will be in position until November 7.

PC Emma McKean and PC Harry O'Donnell from the community policing team at Gorbals police office are part of the team stationed there.

While the police are at Maxwell Square, Youth Community Support Agency workers were also touring the area looking to speak to any young people hanging about in the streets.

PC McKean said: "Last year's campaign was a really big success so hopefully we will build on that this year with a visible presence in the area.

"We have been working with local schools to help deliver diversionary work.

"We are not able to go into schools as we normally would but we have been working with teachers to provide resources and support to help deliver the safety message.

Glasgow Times:

"We have also been working with Trading Standards to help retailers know about their role in the safe sale of fireworks."

Police officers have also visited previous offenders to warn them against carrying out disorder this year.

PC O'Donnell added: "The feedback we have been getting from local residents so far has been very positive."

Local Pollokshields councillor Jon Molyneux also said there has been an improvement in the area - but that the only chance of permanently resolving the problem is by changing the law.

He said: "Partnership between the emergency services and the local community has made a difference again, though it has been more challenging this year because of the pandemic.

"To really stand a chance of eliminating the problems associated with fireworks we need to change the law so they can only be sold for licensed events.

"The power to do that sits with Westminster and the UK Government has so far resisted making that change, despite widespread public support for it.

"The Scottish Government is looking at how it might use its limited powers and it's disappointing that's not been able to be completed before this year's bonfire night."

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: "We received a report of a group of youths throwing fireworks in the Maxwell Park area of Glasgow, around 7.45pm on Saturday, October 24.

"One youth was taken back to his parents and the rest made off when officers arrived."

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said it is working with Crimestoppers and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to take forward a fireworks action plan.

She said: “This includes running public awareness campaigns to promote the safe and considerate use of fireworks.

"In partnership with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Crimestoppers, these include drives to highlight the impact fireworks can have on people and animals; along with the current rules, regulations and reporting options for firework misuse.

 “The Firework Review Group is also considering the options for tightening fireworks legislation and is expected to make recommendations soon and the Minister for Community Safety will update Parliament.”