Terror as youths scale chimney at historic Wigan mill

Youths on the top of a chimney at the Pagefield building
Youths on the top of a chimney at the Pagefield building

This shocking photograph shows youths risking their lives at the top of a chimney at a derelict mill.

It was taken by a woman living nearby, who regularly sees teenagers at the abandoned Pagefield building in Swinley.

I was scared that if the rail went, they would be killed

Witness

But she said she has never seen them climb to the top of the chimney, which is about 100ft tall.

The woman, who asked not to be named, said: “I heard shouting and couldn’t work out where it was coming from and I saw them on the top of the tower.

“It was extremely scary because they were leaning over the rail and obviously it’s a very, very old building. I was scared that if the rail went, they would be killed.

“Altogether there were three of them up there.

“I was really shocked because I quite often walk my dogs through the park and I’m always telling children to come out of there, because they are smashing glass and setting fires, but I have never seen anyone up there before.”

The photograph was taken at around 8.15pm on Tuesday and the police were called.

With the school holidays just beginning, there are fears it could hail the start of a summer of problems for people living in the area.

The Pagefield site was previously a mill and college building, but has been empty for some time and fallen into a state of disrepair.

The site has become a magnet for youths, who climb onto the roof, run around the derelict building, start fires and smash up items.

The emergency services, particularly firefighters, are called there often to deal with incidents.

There have been many calls for youths to stay away amid concerns for their safety and the safety of the emergency services.

But they appear to go unheeded and people continue to gather at the site.

Wigan Council has spent £80,000 of taxpayers’ money in an bid to keep people away - despite not owning the site.

They demolished a fire-damaged building on the site and wrote to the owners in May about the condition of the building.

Fencing was erected around the site by the owner last year, but that was followed by complaints that the gates were not being locked.

And the woman living nearby, who contacted the Post, said she was “shocked” to see the youths could still get access to the building. She said the problems were continuing.

She said: “It seems to keep carrying on and nothing seems to change. Is it going to take a death to say lessons will be learned, when lessons have been waiting to be learned for months and months.”

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