Councillor says Wigan community still facing anti-social behaviour problems

It was an image which shocked many residents and threw into sharp focus the problems of anti-social behaviour in a Wigan community

Friday, 23rd March 2018, 1:28 pm
Updated Friday, 23rd March 2018, 1:35 pm
The Lodge Road incident last year

But 12 months on from the moment the footage first emerged, which many felt encapsulated the wanton criminal damage residents in Orrell were enduring, many of the same problems are still being experienced.

The Lodge Road fracas emerged when a disgruntled resident passed on dash-cam footage of a hooded teenager brazenly kicking out at a car wing mirror to the Wigan Observer.

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Police investigated and despite the extensive publicity, no evidence emerged to lead officers to the culprit.

Elected representatives say the Lodge Road incident represented a low point for the area and while nothing as shocking has since occurred many of the similar problems exist.

Coun Michael Winstanley, who lives in and represents the Orrell ward, says anti-social behaviour is rife in the area but has died down over recent months.

He said: “I’ve not been told of anything of a similar nature (to the Lodge Road incident) but in terms of how much anti-social behaviour is going on I’ve not had specific reports or people getting in touch flagging up anything of that nature.

“But it is an age-old problem of how much people do report and how much they don’t report incidents like this.

“It is difficult to gauge the problem sometimes because these things tend to come in peaks and troughs but as more and more people move into Orrell, we could well see more problems and it is particularly important as more families move into the area.”

Coun Winstanley said Orrell’s proximity to neighbouring boroughs exposed it to even more problems than many other areas.

He added: “One of the problems we encounter in Orrell, and this is something that I have picked up from conversations with local people, is that we have problems because we are so close to the borders of other areas.

“In effect, we are also seeing problems coming in from other areas, like St Helens, Huyton and West Lancashire. Some of these problems of anti-social behaviour are not being committed by local youths but people from outside the area.

“Sometimes, you will see issues arising when there has been disruption activity by the police in one of these areas and the problems then surfaces here in Orrell. It pushes the problem from one area to another.”

He added that one consistent remains: the Church Street area of Orrell was still a hotspot for anti-social behaviour.

“There has been a particular problem with the Church Street area, with youths congregating and I have had reports of people feeling intimidated as they walk down the street,” he said.

“Church Street is a problem because it is so close to the train station and you have the Co-op there as well, so it is a natural meeting place.”

Orrell has long experienced more than its fair share of problems but last March many felt the behaviour of some had got out of hand.

The Orrell Water Park was seen as a particular problem, with youth gangs wreaking havoc during the early evening.