Crime victims warned not to turn vigilante


Police chiefs have urged Wiganers not to take the law into their own hands after a recent crime spree led some to start their own night patrols.

A handful of residents in Abram took it upon themselves after a spate of burglaries in recent months.

The voluntary patrollers told the Wigan Evening Post that police presence and response times were poor, and claimed that their own patrols had led to eight arrests over the Christmas period.

Greater Manchester Police told how they were investigating an increased number of burglaries and related crimes across the borough.

But while admitting they “can’t do this alone,” officers have suggested that people err on the side of caution when attempting to rid their streets of criminals.

A spokesman said: “Significant efforts have been made by police in Wigan to combat this increase, including detectives pursuing all active lines of enquiry, and an increase in patrols by neighbourhood officers.

They appealed for people with information on the crime spree to come forward rather than “attempting to deal with the matter themselves.”

Det Insp Martin Reddington of Wigan CID said: “Please don’t speculate about who may be involved, the details of what happened and attempt to take the law into your own hands.

“Help us find those responsible so that we can ensure they are held accountable for their actions.”

The Wigan Evening Post was made aware of the community patrols by several Abram residents, but they declined to be interviewed for fear of reprisals from the very people they were out to stop.

Abram councillor Carl Sweeney said that he was aware of the community’s concerns over crime, and the subsequent police response.

He said: “Whilst resident patrols highlight the community spirit that we know exists in Abram, we do of course recognise the personal risks that volunteers are taking on behalf of the wider community.”

It is not the first time that residents in the area have decided to go beyond the customary Neighbourhood Watch level of public spiritedness.

Two years ago the Wigan Evening Post reported that the streets of nearby Platt Bridge were being patrolled by a resident disguised as Batman!

Anybody with information should contact police on 0161 856 7124 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.