What happened in Swansea? Mayhill disturbance explained, why were there riots - and who was Ethan Powell?

Police believe the riots in Mayhill, Swansea, started after a vigil for a local boy
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Questions have been raised about the immediate police response to riots which saw 200 people take part in the Swansea disturbance.

The first minister of Wales condemned “completely unacceptable” scenes where the vigil for Swansea City fan Ethan Powell descended into violence

Wales’ first minister Mark Drakeford said the disorder in Swansea would “not be tolerated anywhere in Wales” and thanked police officers for bringing the incident under control.

Videos show a car freewheeling down a road with hundreds of rioters watching on and cheering.

Wales Online are asking South Wales Police why there have been many reports of little or no visible police presence in the area of Waun-Wen Road where the cars were set on fire.

Journalists and residents claimed they didn’t see an obvious police presence in the area until 11.30pm, depsite the mobs reportedly causing disorder at 9pm.

South Wales Police have said the first police resources were deployed at 7.10pm – with 60 officers on the scene at the peak.

Yobs let a car freewheel backwards down a hill in Swansea as another was set on fire (images: social media).Yobs let a car freewheel backwards down a hill in Swansea as another was set on fire (images: social media).
Yobs let a car freewheel backwards down a hill in Swansea as another was set on fire (images: social media).

What happened in Mayhill?

South Wales Police urged residents to stay indoors on Thursday night (21 May) as they dealt with disorder.

Cars were set on fire in the middle of the road and crowds cheered as a vehicle was rolled down a hill.

The force asked people not to return to the Mayhill area of the city and warned those involved should expect to face “robust action”.

Mr Drakeford tweeted on Friday: “The violent scenes in Swansea last night were completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated anywhere in Wales.”

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

Jeremy Vaughan, the chief constable of the force, said it would “stop at nothing” to find those responsible.

“Saddened and furious at events in Swansea last night,” he tweeted.

“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.”

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Who was Ethan Powell?

The vigil was held in Swansea for 19-year-old Ethan Powell who collapsed after watching Swansea City's playoff game on television on Tuesday, WalesOnline reports.

Three memorials have been organised in his memory - including one in Waun Wen that led to rioting on May 20.

His family have condemned the violence and said the “well-mannered boy” would have been “heartbroken” to have seen what happened in his name.

Why did the riots in Mayhill happen?

Swansea Council said it “responded 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 to identify those responsible.

The force warned that if those involved returned to the area and threatened public safety, they would be “robustly dealt with by numerous police resources” that remained on duty.

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.”

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”.

Anyone with information, photographs or video footage is asked to contact South Wales Police, quoting incident 992 of May 20.

Additional reporting by PA.