Fears have been raised over drug-taking in a Wigan neighbourhood after a group acting suspiciously near to two primary schools were reported to the police.
Several individuals caught the eye of alarmed residents and employees in Swinley after they spent a couple of hours on Standishgate close to the Royal Oak pub.
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Eyewitnesses said a black car eventually pulled up on the road and objects appeared to be doled out from it.
Last Tuesday’s incident was of particular worry as it happened just a minute’s walk from both St Mary and St John and Mab’s Cross primary schools.
The prominent Wigan businessman who runs the pub has expressed hope the police can deal with the problem while a local councillor said he was almost at his wits’ end trying to find solutions to drug use in Swinley and other borough wards.
The witness, who asked not to be identified, said: “They were just running around looking for cars turning up to give them stuff. I’ve never seen it as bad as that. It was just ridiculous. The situation is certainly not improving.
“A black car turned up and some of them were very animated for about an hour before it got there. Nothing seems to be getting done about it and when you’ve got a couple of schools a few hundred yards away it’s not good.”
The incident and the registration number of the car which turned up have been reported to police. Prominent local businesses and elected representatives have spoken about the issue of drug use and dealing in Swinley.
Tony Callaghan, who owns the Royal Oak pub, said: “We know there is a problem on Standishgate with drugs. I’m sure it’s something that the police are aware of and hopefully they can do something.
“In terms of behaviour they are there in the daytime and they are getting cheekier and cheekier. We will work with the authorities and residents and hopefully we can rectify this and get it sorted.”
Wigan Central representative Coun Michael McLoughlin said: “This is a dreadful problem. I used to think this was a central ward issue but from what I can make out it seems to be all 25 wards affected. I don’t really know where we are going with it. It seems to be getting worse. The police have had some successes locally recently but they haven’t got the resources they need.
“People who are breaking the law realise they can act with something close to impunity.”
Drug taking has once again hit the headlines in Wigan recently, with residents alarmed by the sight of men injecting themselves in Mesnes Park and a huge stash of drug paraphernalia being photographed at the disused Linde factory site on Frog Lane.
Wigan Council has said it is working to address drug and anti-social behaviour issues across the board and urged anyone seeing illicit substances being taken or dealt to ring police on 101.