Residents report gang of 100 youths

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A WIGAN community suffered another outbreak of anti-social behaviour at the same time police officers were attempting a crackdown.

Greater Manchester Police ran Operation Longford on Friday evening, targeting nuisance hotspots across the region.

Safeguarding vulnerable people is an on-going priority for the force which makes days of action like this so important

Supt Craig Thompson

During the operation, officers were called to the Lincoln Drive area of Ashton to reports of 100 youths causing trouble.

It is thought the gangs had dispersed by the time officers arrived.

The area has been blighted by similar nuisance behaviour in recent years, often centred around the Jubilee Park and Ashton Heath area. Lincoln Drive is on the opposite side of the town centre to those locations.

Operation Longford is also aimed at protecting vulnerable businesses such as takeaways. And four borough shops that sell legal highs were visited by officers who warned owners about their responsibilities to not sell such products to under 18s.

And in some cases warning letters were issues, a spokesman for GMP said.

Supt Craig Thompson said: “Safeguarding vulnerable people is an on-going priority for the force which makes days of action like this so important.

“By having mechanisms in place and working alongside our partners we can ensure those at greater risk in our community are protected before the actions such as exploitation and abuse begin.

“We want Operation Longford to show our community that their safety comes first and will always be our priority. We will make use of all of our disruption tactics to put a stop to criminals.”

A recent outbreak of ASB around Jubilee Park had prompted GMP Wigan officers to distribute leaflets urging residents to report any incidents.

It read: “Over the last few weeks we have received an increased number of calls about youths causing anti-social behaviour in the area.

“Please let us know if you have witnessed or suffered from any recent incidents of anti-social behaviour.”

And Wigan Council announced earlier this year three CCTV cameras would be installed in the park, at a cost of £78,000.

Coun Paul Kenny, cabinet member for resources at Wigan Council, said: “We have worked closely with the police, fire service and our leisure provider WLCT to tackle anti-social behaviour in this area and I am delighted that we have seen a reduction in incidents over the past year.

“We are confident that installing CCTV deter people from committing ASB.”