Mark Drakeford condemns 'completely unacceptable' scenes in Swansea

Family of man, 19, whose death sparked wave of violence in Swansea condemns ‘devastating’ scenes after 200 rioters at vigil set vehicles alight, smashed windows and attacked police

  • Vigil and balloon send off for Ethan Powell in Mayhill, Swansea, descended into chaos on Thursday night 
  • Mr Powell’s family condemned the ‘devastating’ scenes while paying tribute to the ‘down-to-earth boy’
  • Mark Drakeford today insisted the disorder would ‘not be tolerated anywhere in Wales’ following mayhem 

The family of a man whose death sparked a wave of violence in Swansea have condemned the ‘devastating scenes’ after a vigil for the teenager descended into a night of violence.   

Shocking images from Mayhill showed flames billowing from torched cars and shards of glass littering the ground after a group of rioters tore through the residential street and attacked police attempting to control the chaos. 

South Wales Police said last night’s mayhem, which began as a vigil for 19-year-old Ethan Powell, escalated into ‘violence, criminal damage and a wanton disregard for public safety’.  

Mr Powell’s family has since condemned the ‘devastating’ scenes, while paying tribute to the ‘down-to-earth, well mannered boy’ who died suddenly on Monday after watching the football with his grandfather.  

They added: ‘He would have been heartbroken to have seen what happened. He would have been trying to stop it – it is not something he would have wanted to see.

‘We can’t understand why there were people there laughing. To see that going on in Ethan’s name is devastating.

‘We are grieving as a family and we would like to be left alone to grieve in peace’.         

The First Minister for Wales Mark Drakeford today insisted the disorder would ‘not be tolerated anywhere in Wales’ as he thanked police officers for quickly bringing the chaos under control. 

Rioters set vehicles alight and attacked police during a night of violence in Swansea – with officers threatening ‘robust’ action to bring the situation under control

Shocking pictures taken at the scene showed flames billowing from a torched car as onlookers gathered to watch (pictured)

Photographs from today’s clean-up show people in Hi-Vis jackets brushing the burnt remains of debris from the road, with others cleaning broken glass away from their boarded up windows and doors

Locals and Council workers clean up in Waun-Wen Road in the Mayhill area of Swansea, Wales, following the chaos


Ethan Powell’s family has condemned the ‘devastating’ scenes, while paying tribute to the ‘down-to-earth, well mannered boy’ who died suddenly on Monday after watching the football with his grandfather

‘The violent scenes in Swansea last night were completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated anywhere in Wales,’ Mr Drakeford said. 

He thanked South Wales Police ‘for bringing the situation under control and continuing to monitor it closely this morning’. 

Officers had asked people to stay clear of the Mayhill area of Swansea last night, while warning that those involved should expect to face ‘robust action’ for their actions.     

Last night, witnesses claimed a woman in her 90s living nearby had her ‘windows put through’ by the group – as did two other neighbours.

The First Minister for Wales (above, Mark Drakeford) today insisted the disorder would ‘not be tolerated anywhere in Wales’ as he thanked police officers for quickly bringing the chaos under control

A vigil for a recently-deceased local resident escalated into ‘violence, criminal damage and a wanton disregard for public safety’ in the Mayhill area, police said. Pictured: A group at the scene

And disturbing video footage shows the group rolling a car down a hill (pictured) – towards the burning vehicle – before it crashes into the wall

Volunteers and council workers clean-up debris left on the road in Mayhill, Swansea following the disorder last night

A woman clears up bricks and bottles left in the road after the ‘large scale disorder’ which erupted on Thursday night

The gathering was meant to be a ‘nice send off’ and balloon release for teenager Mr Powell, who died suddenly after collapsing at home on Monday

And disturbing video footage captured the group rolling a car down a hill before it crashed into a wall.      

The gathering was meant to be a ‘nice send off’ and balloon release for teenager Mr Powell, who died suddenly after collapsing at home on Monday.

Jeremy Vaughan, the chief constable of the force, said he would ‘stop at nothing’ to find those responsible.

‘Saddened and furious at events in Swansea last night,’ he said. ‘So many families will have been tormented by those responsible, rest assured we @swpolice will stop at nothing to find them.

‘We will work hard with others to help and support local residents who deserve better than this.’

Swansea Council said it was ‘responding at pace’ to the disturbance, with officers assisting with ‘clean-up operations, helping with repairs and reassuring residents’. 

Ash is seen scattered across the tarmac following the night of violence, during which cars were set alight

The gathering was meant to be a ‘nice send off’ and balloon release for teenager Mr Powell, who died suddenly after collapsing at home on Monday. Pictured: Today’s clean up 

Swansea Council said it was ‘responding at pace’ to the disturbance, with officers assisting with ‘clean-up operations, helping with repairs and reassuring residents’

South Wales Police described the incident as ‘totally unacceptable’ and said officers would be working hard to identify those responsible for the night of violence

Photographs from today’s clean-up show people in Hi-Vis jackets brushing the burnt remains of debris from the road, with others cleaning broken glass away from their boarded up windows and doors. 

Elsewhere, residents collected the broken fragments of brick walls at the front of their houses which had been destroyed in the chaos on Thursday. 

South Wales Police described the incident as ‘totally unacceptable’ and said officers would be working hard to identify those responsible for the night of violence.  

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.’  

Smoke is seen billowing from a burnt-out car in Swansea as a vigil for a local boy who died this month got out of hand

The gang stood dangerously close to the car as flames billowed from it. Many can be seen with camera phones filming the chaos

Pictures taken after violence saw the burnt-out shell of a white car on the street in Swansea. Debris can be seen surrounding it

Councillor Rob Stewart, the leader of Swansea Council, also condemned the ‘absolutely disgusting behaviour by yobs’ in Mayhill.

‘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,’ Mr Stewart said.

‘Our officers have linked in with the police who have been on the scene for some time.

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

Simon Hart, Secretary of State for Wales and MP for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, described the scenes as ‘disgraceful’. 

Tom Giffard, Welsh Conservative member of the Senedd for South Wales West, said the disorder was ‘disturbing’. 

Locals took to social media to condemn the actions of those rioting in Swansea following the vigil for Mr Powell.  

Two cars are seen with severe fire damage on the street. The tarmac has also been damaged with the heat of the blaze

Local Welsh Parliament member Tom Giffard called the scenes on Thursday (the fire pictured) ‘disturbing’

The trouble (a group gathered, pictured) is ‘ongoing’ and South Wales Police are urging residents to stay indoors while officers try to safely deal with the situation

Locals rushed to Twitter to blast the group for gathering (the aftermath, pictured) during what was meant to be a ‘nice send off’ and balloon release for 19-year-old local Ethan Powell who died this month

Sylvie Bennett wrote on Facebook: ‘I am shocked at the disrespect shown to Ethan Powell tonight. I never knew the lad but read how many people respect him.’ Pictured: The aftermath

Tegan Davies added: ‘The start was brilliant but this has gone way out of hand! I know Ethan loved an argument with the police but this has gone next level, kids and people living by are absolutely petrified!’ Pictured: The burnt-out cars

Flames were seen billowing from the car in Swansea after it was set alight in the street on Thursday

Sylvie Bennett wrote on Facebook: ‘I am shocked at the disrespect shown to Ethan Powell tonight.

‘I never knew the lad but read how many people respect him.

‘I bet he is looking down on you all with disgust. He wouldn’t want this and neither do his family want this. 

‘So know that Swansea is not proud of you as you are all a disgrace. You have not done him proud you have dishonoured him. You’re the scum of the earth.’  

Tegan Davies added: ‘The start was brilliant but this has gone way out of hand! 

‘I know Ethan loved an argument with the police but this has gone next level, kids and people living by are absolutely petrified! 

‘The videos I’ve been sent are disgusting, I know Ethan would never have taken it this far.

‘Bikes and balloons we said, not a f***ing riot!’

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