Wigan pensioners describe misery at the hands of yobs' wrecking spree

Units came under repeated attack at Robin Park
Units came under repeated attack at Robin Park

Traumatised pensioners have described the misery caused by a pair of young yobs who wreaked terror across their neighbourhood.

The two tearaways, aged just 12 and 14, caused mayhem for residents in Norley Hall, Worsley Hall, Marsh Green, Kitt Green and Newtown and businesses at Robin Retail Park during their mindless wave of wanton destruction.

Related: Shock £20k Wigan retail park wrecking spree of boy aged just 12
Shop windows were shattered night after night, and residents’ cars were smashed causing more than £20k damage. Their crimes left one elderly man so terrified he was unable to sleep at night.

After a lengthy investigation by police - shocked at the repeated attacks - the teens were finally apprehended and appeared at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court where they both admitted their part in the wrecking spree. The 14-year-old “main instigator” was given youth detention after pleading guilty to eight charges.

His accomplice, a 12-year-old boy who has also admitted to eight charges, will be sentenced later this month.

In victim impact statements, residents revealed how the endless vandalism seriously affected their lives over a two-year-period.

A 70-year-old man, who lives on his own, told police: “Over the past two years I have been subject to a lot of anti-social behaviour where my property was targeted.

“I believe this is because of the colour of my skin.

“All of these incidents have taken a toll on me. I cannot sleep at night, I wake up to the slightest noise.

“I have had to install cctv in my home at my own expense. I am pensioner - I can’t afford to cover these costs.”

Another explained how he has been driving around with cling film on his window as he cannot afford to repair the damage done by the youngsters. He said: “I can’t afford the cost of getting it fixed. I cannot understand the mentality of these people.

“There is no logic to it, to why they would do this.

“This will clearly leave me out of pocket to replace the glass and all I have done is park up outside where I live.”

A third victim had already been targeted and had begun parking elsewhere to prevent further damage.

The 71-year-old said: “I was really upset with the damage done to my car. It’s not the first time.

“I’m a pensioner, it’s a lot of money. I use my car every day to get out and about. Now I am having to speak to the council about the possibility of getting a garage but I’ll have to pay for this myself.”

Sgt Paul Higham, who led the investigation into the crimes, explained that businesses, as well as residents, had been left in financial dire straits as a direct result of the teens’ actions.

During their rampage windows in Costa Coffee and Submway were smashed time and time again and in addition the TUI, Curry’s PC World and Healthy Lifestyle units at Robin Park were also targeted.

Sgt Higham said that as a result of the crime wave businesses at Robin Park were considering clubbing together to pay for round-the-clock security: “If this had continued, some of the businesses would have closed down,” he said.

“No sooner were they fixing the damage they were getting damaged again.

“It was costing shops £10,000 plus.

“The 14-year-old was the main culprit - it’s likely he was showing off to his peers.”

The police officer said the case had given him and his officers sleepless nights as they worked tirelessly to catch the offenders.

He said: “This case has given me sleepless nights.

“I’ve been doing this job for 25 years and I’ve never known children so young constantly commit offences

“The victims are so pleased they have been apprehended, especially people living in the areas around Marsh Green and Norley Hall Avenue.

“Hopefully they can finally get some respite now.”