Mayhem at Wigan play area and mill
Wigan has been subjected to several days of mayhem from anti-social behaviour as trespassers got into a derelict mill and a play area was torched.
Young tearaways have yet again been gaining access to the derelict and potentially-lethal Pagefield Mill close to Mesnes Park, climbing the decaying building’s tallest tower.
They then began picking tiles off the structure and hurling them, with one shattering the window of a property on nearby Kenyon Road.
This latest development has alarmed ward councillors and residents, who have been raising concerns over youngsters gaining access to the site and potentially putting their lives at risk, especially during school holidays, for some time.
The incident at Pagefield came as fire crews were called to an incident in the early hours of Good Friday on Lamberhead Road in Norley Hall in which a children’s play area was gutted by fire.
A wheelie bin was discovered inside the structure and it is thought that it was first set alight, with the flames then spreading to the rest of the equipment and rendering it unusable.
This has now been condemned by Wigan Council.
A statement on the town hall’s official social media read: “We are aware of arson damage to play equipment at a play area on Lamberhead Road, Norley Hall.
“We are extremely saddened by such mindless vandalism.
“One of our joiners has attended to assess the damage. While the structure is still standing it is badly burnt.
“Parents should be aware that children should not use the damaged equipment in its current state due to it being unsafe. We have locked the gates and taped it off.”
An elected member is now demanding similarly rapid action to deal with the issue of trespassing at Pagefield, which has been a hot topic for a couple of years and cropped up once again on Maundy Thursday.
It is thought youngsters have started breaking into the site once more due to it being the Easter holidays, raising fears of repeating scenes from previous breaks when firefighters and police officers have had considerable resources tied up dealing with problems at the site.
Coun George Davies, who represents Wigan Central ward for Labour, said: “We’ve had youngsters getting into the tower again and they have been throwing tiles down into the gardens of houses on Kenyon Road and smashing one resident’s window.
“The summer months are coming again and it seems to be starting over again with youngsters coming off Mesnes Park and into Pagefield Mill.
“We’re in the Easter holidays at the moment and if we have a heatwave like last time during summer kids will be in there again and again.
“We need someone to stop them getting into that tower. It needs to be blocked off. I said it last year: the entrance needs taking away.
“I’m also concerned about our residents and things getting thrown into their own back gardens and windows getting smashed.”
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) are understood to have been contacted about the damage to the window and to have been in touch with the resident affected.