Travellers accused of trashing popular Wigan leisure centre

Horrified staff at a popular Wigan leisure centre watched on as two women smashed up communal toilets during peak visiting hours.

Thursday, 19th July 2018, 9:33 am
Updated Thursday, 19th July 2018, 10:52 am
The leisure centre was refurbished earlier this year

At around 7.55pm on Tuesday evening, police responded to complaints of criminal damage at Ashton Leisure Centre on Old Road.

Residents are linking the arrival of a group of travellers to the incident as a new encampment was set up nearby just days prior to the raid.

The travellers, who according to local report, were unable to move from Bryn Recreational Ground on Thursday night last week due to being “too intoxicated”, arrived at Brocstedes Park last Friday- just a mile from the family facility.

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Although the incident has been confirmed by both police officers and staff at the leisure centre - which is run by council partners “Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles”, little is known about the offenders or the extent of the damage.

A GMP spokesperson said: "Police were called at around 8pm on Tuesday July 17 to reports of criminal damage at a leisure centre in Old Road, Ashton in Makerfield. Three females entered the leisure centre at around 7pm asking to use washroom facilities.

"A short time later, damage was found to have been caused to the washroom facilities. Enquiries are ongoing."

An anonymous source told the Wigan Post that the damage was committed by travellers who were requesting to use the showers at the site, which is next to Cansfield High School.

After being told that they were not able to, the women allegedly went into the toilets and smashed a few of them up.

Coun Jenny Bullen, labour representative for Ashton, said: “Ashton residents were delighted recently when we managed to move the group from Stubshaw Park. In fact it was thence that they moved on to St Thomas’ in Golborne.

“I don’t think I can comment properly until there is some kind of confirmation that this is what has happened from the council, but if it is the case that they have done this to our leisure centre, then it takes it to a different level.”

According to independent ward councillor for Bryn, Steve Jones, bailiffs arrived at the Brocstedes Park site yesterday morning to remove the travellers - who arrived at the site after being evicted from Bryn Rec- but no progress had been made by the end of the day.

One resident said: “Travellers were moved last week from Bryn Rec only to go straight down the road.

“As they arrived on a Friday night the council couldn’t do anything because they don’t work weekends. Should they not work weekends for an emergency?

“There are many elderly people on my street who are sick with worry.”

A spokesperson for Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles, said: “On Tuesday, two females attempted to use the centre’s facilities without paying.

“They were removed from the premises and the police were called. We are supporting the police with their inquiries.”