Councillor 'devastated' for residents after fourth shooting in Wigan in two weeks

A Wigan councillor said she is “devastated” for residents following the fourth shooting in her ward in two weeks.

Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 10:46 am
The scene at the Bryn Hall pub on Sunday morning

Coun Eunice Smethurst, Labour councillor for Abram, said she feels “so sorry” for people living in the area following the terrifying events which unfolded at a local pub this weekend.

At around 11pm on Saturday, police were called to reports of possible shots fired and a Molotov cocktail being thrown at the Bryn Hall pub on Bolton Road.

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Forensics and police swarmed the area, cordoning off the establishment for more than 12 hours while an investigation took place.

The incident is not thought to be linked to another shooting which occurred on Bickershaw Lane last week.

If the shooting is confirmed, it will be the fourth reported in the borough in the past 10 days.

On Thursday, police and paramedics descended on Bickershaw Lane in Abram following reports that a man in his 50s had been blasted with a shotgun.

He was taken to hospital with a gunshot wound and has suffered a “life-changing” injury.

The victim's son posted on social media that his father had an operation on Thursday night and was awake and talking the following morning.

He said the bullets had "just missed" the heads of two children in the car at the time of the shooting.

The shots were fired directly opposite the entrance to a former car park where 21-year-old Billy Livesley was murdered last December.

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A week before, on Thursday, September 12, shots were fired at a house on Vicarage Road, not far from the Bickershaw Lane shooting.

Moments later, a 41-year-old woman was shot twice in the back through her window at Redland Court, a cul-de-sac just off Bolton Road in Ashton.

Coun Smethurst said that herself and the two other Abram councillors Martyn Smethurst and Carl Sweeney are doing “all they can” to reassure residents.

“I feel so sorry for the people who are concerned for their safety at this time,” she said. “All we can do is try to give reassurance.

“What people must realise is that they mustn’t start banding names around as it could prejudice the police’s case.

“We must let them do their job. We aren’t used to this kind of thing in Abram.

“We have worked really hard on the area to make it a nice place and to make people feel safe.

“We don’t want people to get used to this kind of thing either.”

The councillor has strongly condemned the shootings, saying that the offenders are playing with residents’ safety,

“They people’s lives at risk, especially the one on Thursday which happened at such a busy time,” added Coun Smethurst.

“There were children around and that area near the traffic lights is so busy.

“There was a mindless disregard for people’s safety and I really condemn that.

“When factions like this come into the area we just need to shut them down.

“We need to let the police get on with their job and get to the bottom of it.

“What is worrying is how quickly it has escalating. In other areas knife crime is a problem but for people to come in with guns is so frightening and something we definitely aren’t used to.”

The councillor has assured that meetings are going on at a higher level to discuss what steps to take next.