Wigan shop staff terrorised by gang of young thugs
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Shocking CCTV footage shows the havoc being wreaked at Food Plus in Standishgate by groups of teenaged thugs who routinely abuse employees, steal items and smash windows - which owner David Sawko says has cost more than £8,000 to repair on four separate occasions.
One altercation saw one of the yobs spit in the face of a female employee who tried to confront them. The disgusting act came after group of half a dozen youngsters entered the store and began trying to steal goods,
The group of thugs quickly turned violent, trying to physically intimidate the staff, before one of them threw a bottle in their direction. They fled the shop when employees began to defend themselves, but one returned to the door to argue with a female employee before spitting at her.
Mr Sawko, who has owned the shop for more than two years, said the issue is also blighting neighbouring businesses such as McDonald’s and Poundland.
“This has been going on for about three or four months, it’s getting worse and worse, and the group is getting bigger,” said Mr Sawko.
“They had stolen goods before, but one of our employees noticed, so we tried not letting them in the shop. That’s when the issues started. They started to assault our workers, they spat in the face of one of our female workers who tried to stop them from stealing. That was a very nasty incident.”
He added: “They come to the store and steal, and intimidate our employees. Not to mention breaking windows etc. on average once a week. This is a problem not only in our store, but neighbours like McDonald’s, Poundland and, Iceland, who also can’t handle it.”
He added: “Our employees are scared come in to work. We are paying lots of tax and business rates to keep the business running, but teenagers just keep destroying it. They keep coming back and smashing windows.”
The issue has become so serious that Mr Sawko has had to start employing a security guard so that his staff don’t feel scared to come to work. He added that police were often unable to deal with the gangs due to a lack of resourced.
A McDonald’s spokesman said the fast-food chain was also monitoring the situation closely. The spokesman said: “We are committed to ensuring a safe and secure environment for our customers and staff. We work closely with Greater Manchester Police to share CCTV footage and other intelligence to assist in identifying persistent offenders.
“Our local franchisee Craig Renilson has met with Wigan Council and other businesses in the town centre to discuss ways of reducing incidents of anti-social behaviour and we send a business representative to regular meetings with town centre management. Craig is also heavily involved with Wigan Youth Zone, providing business education courses and fund-raising for this vital service.”
Anyone with information on the incidents should call police on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.