Crackdown on youth violence

Latics boss Roberto Martinez helps launch Operation Crackdown against violent crime with ltr Amanda Grimshaw and Sheila Fairhurst from the Carly Fund, Coun Paul Prescott, Wigan fire station commander Brian Highlands, and town centre PCSO Michelle Ashurst at the DW stadium

Latics boss Roberto Martinez helps launch Operation Crackdown against violent crime with ltr Amanda Grimshaw and Sheila Fairhurst from the Carly Fund, Coun Paul Prescott, Wigan fire station commander Brian Highlands, and town centre PCSO Michelle Ashurst at the DW stadium

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A MAJOR drive to make teenagers think twice about violent crime has been stepped up.

Everyone from the police to Wigan Athletic have been hammering home the message this week as part of the onging Operation Lockdown.

Agencies joined forces for a crime prevention day at Wigan and Leigh College.

Partners including local police, council and fire brigade hope to raise awareness of the consequences of violent crime among young adults, particularly when it’s alcohol-related.

As part of the event, all students, staff and visitors entering the Parsons Walks building were made to pass through a knife arch, and police officers and PCSOs carried out random searches.

Students also engaged with agencies in a series of roadshows and tutorials, giving them a chance to learn about issues as diverse as domestic abuse, proxy sales of alcohol to under-age drinkers, risks associated with drugs and alcohol consumption.

Wigan Athletic boss Roberto Martinez said: “The entire Wigan Athletic team, both on the field and off, is behind this campaign.

“We are committed to working with all partners across the community to tackle the issue of serious violent crime among young people, through intervention, education and prevention and we hope this campaign saves lives and makes a real difference.”

Trevor and Sheila Fairhurst, whose teenaged daughter Carly was killed by her boyfriend five years ago, visited the college to show their support.

“We know from bitter experience how senseless violence can tear lives apart,” said Trevor.

“Operation Lockdown is all about prevention and education. It’s about making sure teenagers and young adults are informed about the choices they make, and about the potentially tragic consequences of their actions.”

On the Young People’s Drug and Alcohol Team stand, students examined the drug box, a display case housing 22 different drugs such as steroids, magic mushrooms, ketamine, cannabis and date rape dug rohipnol, giving them a chance to see what different substances look like and to ask about the risks associated with using them.

The team also had students performing simple tasks such as picking up a glass of water while wearing “beer goggles” in order to get them thinking about how alcohol affects their visual perception.

Trading Standards held a number of tutorials with the students to make them aware of the issues surrounding proxy sales, which is where a person over the age of 18 purchases alcohol for somebody younger.

According to Trading Standards officers, some of the students who were 18 admitted to having done this, and so were concerned to hear that they could face an £80 on the spot fine, a £5,000 fine and a criminal conviction which could ultimately affect their future chances of employment.