Safety concerns as gang wreaks havoc

An outbreak of anti-social behaviour has prompted public safety concerns among long-suffering Wigan residents.

Footage has emerged of dozens of youths wreaking havoc around the Church Street area in Orrell on Friday night.

A teeenager in the road with a cone in Orrell

A teeenager in the road with a cone in Orrell

Concerned onlookers reported the marauding gang to police but now fear such scenes could become a regular occurrence with the summer months approaching.

This particular area of Orrell has been blighted by similar outbreaks of nuisance behaviour in recent years and ward councillors say now is the time for preventative action to be taken.

Coun Mike Winstanley said: “For the last three of four weeks I have received a number of calls about incidents like this.

“Residents are fed-up of feeling intimidated, I have contacted both the police and the council’s anti-social behaviour team and am calling for an increased presence to combat this worrying trend.”

These problems have been going on for months and the only response has been from the local authority until the last couple of weeks

Coun Stephen Murphy

The video, shot by a resident who has asked to remain anonymous, shows youths placing traffic cones in the middle of the road and vehicles swerving in order to miss them.

The concerned homeowner told the Wigan Post: “It was like a riot. I’m worried someone will get hurt.”

Coun Winstanley added: “Unfortunately this isn’t the first time I have been told about items being placed in the road, we don’t want it to get out of control.

“One of the reasons we are seeing more and more is because there isn’t enough of a presence.”

Coun Stephen Murphy, who represents the ward for Labour, said he is frustrated with the police’s response to concerns voiced by himself and residents.

He told the Wigan Post: “These problems have been going on for months and the only response has been from the local authority until the last couple of weeks.

“Vandalism has caused thousands of pounds of damage. At a recent Orrell Network meeting, we were told the police are very busy and now only respond to threats to life and emergency situations, other issues can only be looked into if and when they have someone available.”

Last year the misery caused by gangs at nearby Church Drive was laid bare during a court case.

Residents described being subjected to tirades of verbal abuse, criminal damage to their vehicles and property and months of intimidation. Warnings have also been sounded about similar disturbances at Orrell Water Park.

Last month officers were required to disperse what was reported to be almost 200 youngsters.

Both areas have been subject to dispersal orders in recent years.

Council director Will Blandamer, said: “We encourage all residents who are experiencing anti-social behaviour to report incidents to GMP on 101 or to the council by searching ASB on the council website.

“We are working closely with GMP and residents to address anti-social behaviour and will continue to do so.”

Coun David Arrowsmith (Labour) said the council and police had been made aware of the problems.

He added: “I have asked if police patrols could pass the water park during the evenings.”