Police pledge crackdown after shocking video shows zombified drug users in Wigan town centre
Police have assured Wigan residents they are cracking down on illegal drug use after alarming footage of people in a zombie-like state in the town centre caused concern on social media.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) Wigan town centre neighbourhood inspector Phil James said the force understood residents' concerns about substances being taken and said they were working with partners at the town hall to put a stop to it.
The crackdown included a warrant being executed at a Wigan town centre shop where illegal drugs were found on Monday, Insp James said.
The brief video clip, taken on Standishgate, shows one man bent double and another frozen in position in broad daylight with shoppers walking past them.
Hundreds of comments were posted, with residents calling for an increased police presence in the town centre and saying they did not feel it was safe to let children head into Wigan with friends.
GMP have now stressed they are doing all they can to combat the scourge of illegal substance taking, including getting more officers out and about on the streets.
Insp James said: "It is something we are aware of and we are working with the council's anti-social behaviour team.
"We have increased patrols in the town centre and with drug and alcohol workers we have been doing warrants.
"There was one yesterday at a shop where we found ecstacy and crack cocaine.
"We are aware that this is concerning for the public. We continue to work with partners.
"We are running an operation called Safe4Summer and in the town centre we will be looking at having more PCSOs and officers out for confidence and reassurance.
"We monitor social media and intelligence coming in from the public. We urge people to report any drug taking or anti-social behaviour and we will investigate everything we can get through."
The zombie-like actions of the men in the video led to many people suspecting they were under the influence of the former legal high Spice, which has caused severe problems in Manchester city centre.
Insp James, though, said he was not aware of major issues with Spice taking in Wigan and suggested the men were more likely to have taken heroin.
Anyone who sees or suspects illegal drug use call can police on 101 or ring independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.