POLICE chiefs have pledged there will be enough officers on the beat on Bonfire Night in Inverclyde following last year's shocking scenes in Larkfield.

Last year the police were pelted with missiles after arriving to break up huge crowds at an illegal fireworks display held in the estate and attended by hundreds of people.

Wooden pallets had been piled high on a grass area near the top of Auchmead Road during daylight in advance, but the authorities did not intervene and then fire crews had to call for help when they were called out and immediately confronted by drunken thugs.

The incident escalated quickly as police officers and community warden vans came under attack, with fireworks and bottles being hurled at them.

Large crowds gathered in defiance of the pandemic lockdown rules in force at the time, drinking in the street and blatantly ignoring social distancing rules while a DJ complete with disco lights blasted out loud rave music and St Andrew's Church on the street was turned into a toilet by anti-social yobs.

When the parish priest tried to keep them out of the grounds he was advised by police to stay inside 'for his own safety'.

A major incident was declared, with officers with riot shields and a force helicopter drafted in.

Last year's events have prompted particular concern almost a year on due to a clash with the Glasgow COP26 summit, with fears that local police resources will be under strain.

This year's bonfire night also falls on a Friday evening and there will be no organised display at Battery Park, with the event cancelled due to a lack of stewards.

Inverclyde Council, who branded last year's events in Larkfield as 'appalling and utterly disgraceful', say they have held talks with senior officers in bid to ensure there will be sufficient cover and no repeat of the chaos.

In an update to councillors, environment and economic recovery director Stuart Jamieson said: "Obviously supporting such a major operation [COP26] will have impacts on local policing.

"Meetings have been held with the Divisional Commander and his senior team to discuss how business as usual policing will be delivered in Inverclyde during the event.

"Members will obviously be aware that COP26 spans the period covering bonfire night and assurances have been sought and received from Police Scotland that an adequate level of response is being factored into their planning given the issues seen in Inverclyde last year."

The COP26 event will involve one of the biggest police operations in UK history.

It begins on October 31 and runs until November 12, with officers being drafted into Glasgow from all over the country.