Mischief-free Halloween for town centre

The Ashton town centre dispersal zone
The Ashton town centre dispersal zone

A BUSY town centre which suffered yobbish behaviour at Halloween over the last few years finally enjoyed a peaceful weekend - but residents say it moved the problem elsewhere.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) launched a dispersal zone in Ashton town centre, covering Heath Road, Turnill Drive, Ladysmith Avenue, Hilton Street, Gerard Street and Bryn Street over the weekend, meaning gangs were turfed away, leading to less trouble in the area.

But the problems did not go away, as there were three incidents of anti-social behaviour in the Ashton Heath area, sparking criticism that the zone needed to be extended to cover more parts of Wigan Road, Jubilee Park and Ashton Heath.

Chairman of Ashton Residents’ Association (ARA) Michael Moulding said: “I believe the police were right to put up the dispersal zone, but it should have been extended, as the problems move to other parts of Ashton.

“There have been incidents in Wigan Road, just past Jubilee Park, going up to Bryn railway station. Youths are drinking and hanging around Bargain Booze. But I am not saying that is where they are getting the alcohol from. They are throwing missiles, such as stones, at windows at properties in the area.

“But one main problem is the pop up fireworks shops, which I don’t think should be allowed. I am certain fireworks are getting into the hands of youngsters. It would put my mind at ease if police had these dispersal orders ongoing.”

Cheers Off Licence, in Wigan, has experienced an increase in gangs hanging around, causing trouble. A spokesman added: “Moving the kids from the Ashton town centre was only going to move them in our direction.”