Investigation after Bristol man is ‘pelted with traffic cones and pepper sprayed’ near Grain Barge

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‘My head gash needed several stitches, I must have been hit there at least four times’

Avon Fire and Rescue Service is investigating after a Bristol man claimed he was pelted with traffic cones by a firefighter near the Grain Barge - before being pepper sprayed by police officers.

Graham Crees needed hospital treatment for head wounds after he claims a group of people threw the cones at him after he confronted them outside his home in Hotwells.

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The incident, which was captured on CCTV, shows the revellers initially fooling around with the cones, which had been placed on the road as part of a self-build project.

Graham Crees’ injuries. Graham Crees’ injuries.
Graham Crees’ injuries. | Graham Crees / SWNS

But when Graham confronted them about their behaviour, he was attacked with multiple cones smashing into his face.

And he says he was injured further when cops arrived and considered him the aggressor, forcibly arresting him with use of a spray.

After a night in cells, Graham was released with no further action with cops accepting mobile phone footage corroborated his version of the events.

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While recovering from his injuries, he took on the role of private detective and claims he identified at least one of his alleged attackers as being a firefighter for Avon Fire and Rescue.

This has prompted a statement from the service who labelled the footage ‘disturbing’ and promised a full internal investigation.

Graham, aged 56, said the cones were in place as he was due to have ‘water connection’ done on his self-build project on Easter Sunday morning.

He said: “I was driving back to the site later in the day and a large group walking past picked up loads of cones on their heads. They were just being idiots but it wasn’t that bad.

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“There were some older people my age in the group and I started shouting to grow up and put the cones back.

“Some of them did that but others pushed them over into the road. It then became confrontational and they started coming at me aggressively.

“I was backing away but warning them not to get closer and then someone chucks a cone at me. Then various other cones get thrown at me four or five times.

“I later find out the main perpetrator who started it all was a serving firefighter. I would expect better from people in that role.”

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Graham, a construction site manager, said cops then arrived but were told by the group he had been the aggressor.

“Police then came and the group said I had attacked them,” he added. “Officers steamed into me, peppered me and arrested me.

“I was injured with multiple hits to the head, and to the arm. My head gash needed several stitches and I must have been hit there at least four times.

Graham Crees needed hospital treatment for head wounds after a mob threw the cones at him when he confronted them outside his home. Graham Crees needed hospital treatment for head wounds after a mob threw the cones at him when he confronted them outside his home.
Graham Crees needed hospital treatment for head wounds after a mob threw the cones at him when he confronted them outside his home. | Graham Crees / SWNS

“My attackers claimed I had pushed an old lady and then attacked them. I was then told I was under arrest and was pepper sprayed. It was unbelievable - I was the victim of an assault but was treated like a criminal.”

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Graham said he was held in custody until lunchtime the next day when police released him with no further action after reviewing mobile phone footage.

He added: “The arresting officer did not have the benefit of the mobile phone footage but thankfully it was there to clear my name.

“The videos clearly vindicated me and the police had to concede that and let me out. I just had a few bruises and a small scar on my head - but tore a ligament in my left quad when I was arrested. I am now on painkillers and cannot sleep.”

Graham said there were more than 20 people in the group and said about seven or eight took part in the attack on him.

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But he said when police arrived, they had no interest in hearing his side of the story.

He added: “They just wanted to arrest me.

“Even after I was released, they were not interested in taking action against anyone else and considered the matter closed. I had to take action into my own hands and put pictures and video from CCTV and mobile phones on social media.

“People started giving me names and after hearing about the firefighter who started it all off, I contacted the fire service and made a complaint about him.

“They have now started a internal investigation and the police have re-opened the case with a new crime reference number.

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“They said they take the allegations very seriously so I await the result of their actions. He has now contacted me to apologise but only after he realised I had CCTV.”

Avon Fire and Rescue Service has now promised a full probe into the incident.

A spokesperson said: “We are aware of a video circulating on social media, allegedly involving a member of Avon Fire & Rescue Service staff.

Graham Crees’ injuries.Graham Crees’ injuries.
Graham Crees’ injuries. | Graham Crees / SWNS

“The footage is understandably disturbing and we take matters like this very seriously. We have instigated a full internal employment investigation into the matter and will fully co-operate with any police investigations.

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“Whilst this takes place, we would encourage people not to further speculate on social media, to ensure a full and fair investigation is carried out.

“As this incident is now subject to investigation, we cannot comment further on this matter at this time.”

Avon and Somerset Police has been asked for comment.