TWO police patrol cars were completely destroyed after being set on fire by mindless yobs as officers attended an incident in Niddrie.
• Youths ‘smashed windows before torching vehicles’
• Emergency alert issued for patrol cars to support embattled officers.
Youths torched the fully-equipped vehicles, estimated to be worth £40,000 each, while they were left unattended in the street.
Police detained two men but later released them pending further inquiries.
Sources said youths pelted the two vehicles with rocks before setting them on fire as officers attended an incident in Niddrie House Park at around 8.30pm last night.
Sources claim officers had tried to enter a house where there had been “concern for the occupant” and had called for a back-up vehicle carrying a battering ram before the cars came under siege.
Youths were said to have smashed the police cars’ windows before torching the vehicles in a what has been described as a “co-ordinated attack”.
It is claimed police produced batons in response to missiles being thrown by a crowd that had gathered as an emergency alert was issued for patrol cars to support the embattled officers.
A source said: “Police remained at the scene protecting the vehicles until a roadside recovery team collected them but were taking lots of abuse from crowds that gathered. There were things thrown at the police who had to pull out their batons.”
A police spokesman said they had no record of missiles being thrown or officers drawing their batons.
A video of the incident has been posted online and shows one of the cars engulfed in flames bellowing thick clouds of smoke into the blue summer sky.
Residents are seen watching it burn and joking about uploading the images on to Facebook.
One woman is heard to say: “Those two police officers don’t know what to do,” before a voice off-screen asks if anyone has a fire extinguisher.
A police spokesman said: “Police Scotland can confirm that two marked police vehicles that were responding to a call in Niddrie House Park sustained significant damage after being set alight on Monday evening.
“Two males were detained and have been released pending further inquiries.
“Anyone with information that can assist police with their investigation is asked to come forward immediately.”
In a separate incident, police are hunting fireraisers who set alight three cars parked in the street. The vehicles were torched in the Saughton Mains area late on Friday night.
Police received a call about the incidents at around 12.10am on Saturday.
Officers said that the fires were being treated as “suspicious” as the investigation continues.
Police Scotland appealed for witnesses to the attacks.
A police spokesman said: “Three cars were set alight while parked in street.
“We are appealing to anyone who has information on these incidents to contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”