WIGAN town centre is facing a new problem from the oldest profession.
Visitors and businesses are complaining increasingly about sex workers touting for trade on the main shopping streets - often in broad daylight.
The council and some of the local landlords have done a lot to brighten up Wallgate in recent years and made it a more attractive and welcoming gateway to Wigan, so the last thing we want now is for this work to be undermined by prostitutes
One local man said he was offered full sex by a woman who appeared to be eastern European and said that they could go to a vehicle at a railway station car park.
Traders too say that prostitutes are “dragging the area” down and becoming a growing nuisance, particularly in the Wallgate area.
One business owner on that road told the Wigan Observer today: “I am getting fed up of them. As far as I know Wigan hasn’t had much of a vice problem before, nor even a red light district to speak of, but it is in danger of getting one if things aren’t clamped down on now.
“The council and some of the local landlords have done a lot to brighten up Wallgate in recent years and made it a more attractive and welcoming gateway to Wigan, so the last thing we want now is for this work to be undermined by prostitutes.”
A 69-year-old Wigan man, who did not want to be named, said: “The other night I was walking from the Moon Under Water pub down to the bus stop at Wigan North Western Station at around 10.45pm.
“When I got to the top of King Street, a well-dressed young lady of pehaps 30 or 35 years old stopped me and asked me ‘did I want any business?’.”
The woman then brazenly reeled off a list of prices for various sexual services before offering to take the shocked man to North Western Station car park.
He added: “I declined and went on to catch my bus home. Prostitutes on the streets of Wigan - what is happening to the town?”
Tony Callaghan, whose InnTheBar company owns several licensed premises in Wigan town centre, said: “Prostitution is definitely a growing issue and the police need to tackle it urgently, like they did with beggars a while ago, before it becomes an even bigger issue.
“There is a group of girls who are hanging around. Some are eastern European, some are English and they are propositioning people in the street and even coming into the pubs.
“And it’s not just at night either. A while ago I had just picked up my 15-year-old son from school and went to The Raven and there was a row going on inside around a girl who had propositioned one of the customers. And that was at 3.45 in the afternoon! This isn’t good for the neighbourhood or for business.”
The Observer contacted police and Wigan Council. Police were unavailable for comment while the council said they had not been given enough time to respond.