A Wigan pensioner fell and smashed her face after tripping in a public subway littered with stolen fencing panels and drug paraphernalia.
Jean Metcalfe, a great gran from Kitt Green, tripped over a piece of discarded wood on a public pathway behind the back of St Peter’s Catholic High School, leaving her with facial swelling and a black eye.
The 79-year-old, who was looking after her nine-year-old great-grandaughter at the time, is recovering from a shoulder operation and will now have to undergo testing to establish if any serious damage has been done.
Her daughter Gillian Morris is calling for a crackdown on anti-social behaviour in the area, saying that the incident happened because the subway is being treated as a den not a public footpath.
“It was upsetting and quite frightening to see her like that,” she said. “She was covered in mud.
“It’s a miracle she didn’t crack her head open.
“The subway itself has been neglected and abused for a while now.
“It tends to flood a lot but it wasn’t on the day my mum walked through there.
“Lately my sister, who lives nearby, has noticed a lot of youths going down there.
“There are a lot of laughing gas canisters down there so that’s obviously what they are going there to do.
“Recently neighbours have had fencing panels ripped off and taken, it was one of these that my mum tripped on.”
According to Gillian, local residents have already raised concerns about the subway and even tried to get it closed down.
“If it’s only going to be used for anti-social behaviour then perhaps it would be better just closed off,” she said.
“The route actually takes off a good corner from Orrell to Kitt Green.
“It’s a nice walk when it’s cleaned up. The area used to be maintained but it doesn’t look like it has been in a long time.
“I know it’s difficult, what can be done if they are coming and doing this at night?
“But the empty boxes, canisters and rubbish need cleaning up.”
Concerns have been mounting recently regarding the increasing use of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) in the borough.
Wigan Council has confirmed that it does not have authority over the subway and that this is maintained by Highways England.
Highways England has been contacted for comment.