Young offenders put in hot seat

Young offenders at Wigan fire station
Young offenders at Wigan fire station

YOUNG offenders spent a morning with firefighters as part of a pilot project designed to make them think differently about car crime, arson and discipline.

Blue Watch crews acted as role models when six teenagers from Wigan Council’s Youth Offending Team (YOT) donned fire gear and joined in hose drills at Wigan Fire Station.

Watch Manager Tony Callaghan said: “It was great to have the young people with us at the station and to see the difference in attitude from when they arrived to when they left a few hours later was really encouraging.

“We talked to them about the consequences of fire-setting and car crime and did some hose drills and had them shadow us wearing breathing apparatus through a dark smoky training house.

“We really seemed to have a positive effect on them as firefighters – and if we can discourage just one of them from stealing a car and having an accident which sees us having to cut them out of the wreckage, then it’s worthwhile.”

The teens are on a six-month rolling programme with Wigan YOT working in partnership with Wigan Warriors Community Partnership.

As part of their morning at the station, Firefigher Joe Steven spoke to the young people about road traffic collisions the crews have been to.

One teenager said: “It was brilliant, I learnt loads about how dangerous fires can be and the consequences of what could happen if you steal a car.”

It’s hoped Wigan Blue Watch crews will become a regular fixture of the Wigan YOT programme.