‘Feral gangs of youths running wild’

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Gangs of “feral” yobs are terrorising a Wigan community with anti-social attacks on homes and vehicles that are numbering up to 30 a week!

Worried police today called for public help in identifying the troublemakers in both Higher and Lower Ince before someone is seriously injured.

Countless motorists have complained about youths pelting their vehicles with eggs, soil and even stones as they drive past, while the number of dustbins dragged out of people’s yards and gardens to be set alight is now well into 
double figures.

One resident, who said he was too afraid to be identified, told the Wigan Evening Post: “We are at our wits’ end. These feral youngsters need to be brought to heel before someone gets seriously hurt or even killed.

“You wonder whether their parents know or even care where they are and what they are up to. Well what they are up to is making this a very frightening place in which to live and to drive through.”

Local bobby Pc Sean Robinson says that this is a long-standing problem but, if anything, the situation is getting worse.

He said: “People are feeling intimidated and it’s time to say ‘enough is enough.’

“It is more by luck than design that no-one has been seriously injured when vehicles are being pelted with mud, eggs and stones although vehicles are being damaged in the process.

“Some motorists are having to take drastic evasive action and, on busy roads, that could cause a serious accident. And then of course it doesn’t bear thinking about if a stone should shatter the windscreen while someone is driving.”

One problem area is around Warrington Road, Redbrook Road and Manley Street.

In Redbrook especially homeowners have complained that their blue bins - the ones containing waste paper - have been stolen. They end up being dragged onto open land nearby or under the railway bridge where they are set on fire, possibly to keep the congregating youngsters warm.

The former out-of-hours doctors’ surgery on Ince Green Lane is regularly targeted by vandals and a bus shelter has also been shattered. There have been further reported problems in the Smithy Green precinct.

Pc Robinson said that the groups tend to be between 10 to 20 strong, the ages being anywhere between 10 and 17 and the problems are at their highest at any time between school leaving times and 11pm on weekdays and any time on a weekend.

He added: “We are getting several calls every day about this anti-social behaviour. We can have anything between 20 and 30 reports a week.

“When the police arrive they generally disperse very quickly and while we have spoken to a few young people and have been given several names, we would very much like more people to come forward with information - anonymously if necessary. We have actually done a street surgery where people have been urged to come forward with names and other details.

“We need people to be vigilant but we would also ask parents in the area to wonder what their children might be getting up to after school and on weekends.”

Anyone with information is asked to ring police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.