Have-a-go-heroes who stopped car thieves praised

Police incident
Police incident
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Have-a-go heroes have been praised by the police for helping to capture would-be car thieves - just days after such an incident ended in a fatality.

A woman had a clump of hair torn out, was repeatedly slapped and threatened with a broken bottle before the couple, who were trying to break into vehicles, were detained by neighbours on the Hawkley Hall estate.

Officers on the Wigan West beat took to social media to thank residents for their assistance, but it came just days after what appears to have been a citizens’ arrest in nearby Ashton went tragically wrong.

A source told the Wigan Post that householders are increasingly resorting to tackling suspects in their neighbourhoods because police have not always been responding to their calls for help due to shortage of resources and having to prioritise emergencies.

The Hawkley Hall incident took place in the Stanedge Grove and Sudbury Close area in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

A man and a woman were spotted trying to get in cars parked on the road and residents went out to confront them.

Stacy Gallear took to Facebook afterwards to say that she had her hair pulled out, been struck and threatened with a bottle but that the woman was by then in the back of a police van. The man was chased through gardens and eventually arrested too.

Both have since appeared at Manchester Magistrates’ Court.

Martin James Wilding, 29, and Rebecca McMahon, 32, both of Norley Hall Avenue, Norley, admitted all the charges against them.

Wilding pleaded guilty to three thefts; one of razor blades from Boots at Robin Park on November 3, two of cash and sunglasses from cars parked on drives in Meadow Brook, Pemberton on October 25 and also three counts of interfering with a vehicle that night in Hawkley and was jailed for 16 weeks.

McMahon pleaded guilty to common assault, two counts of vehicle interference and possession of an offensive weapon (namely a shard of glass) in a public place.

Justices remanded her on bail and committed her to appear before a judge at Manchester Crown Court on December 13 for sentencing.

Police from the Wigan West neighbourhood took to Facebook to report details of the incident and court proceedings, adding: “We would like to thank the members of the public involved in reporting this incident to us and the help they provided in assisting ourselves to detain the two offenders.”

A reader from Ashton who did not want to be identified said: “There have been a lot of vehicle crimes in Ashton and Hawkley Hall recently and there are residents who are getting frustrated that the police aren’t coming out immediately to deal with suspicious behaviour when they call - probably because there aren’t enough of them due to cuts.

“Little wonder people are taking the law into their own hands and making citizens’ arrests. All well and good when things go well, but they don’t always do, do they?”

The two men arrested on suspicion of Jordan Higham’s murder have been released under investigation.