INTRUDERS at an abandoned Wigan mill have been warned they are dicing with death.
The latest safety plea comes as youths have been snapped clambering on top of the multi-storey Pagefield building next to Mesnes Park.
And with the summer holidays fast approaching, borough authorities are desperate to deter trespassers and prevent a catastrophe at the vandal and arson-hit property which is far from safe.
The site has been a hive of anti-social behaviour in recent times and earlier this year a major blaze engulfed the building and required 40 firefighters to douse the flames.
Speaking exclusively to the Wigan Observer, borough fire commander Steve Sheridan said: “The last thing I want is to send my officers into that building, putting themselves at risk to rescue someone who is trapped in a fire or fallen down a lift shaft.
“The place really is a death-trap and in a way it is a perfect storm given that it is so close to our flagship park and Wigan Youth Zone.
Someone will get seriously hurt in there if this keeps happening. If you want to go climbing, go to the climbing walls at the Youth Zone and do it somewhere you’re not putting lives at riskSteve Sheridan
“But someone will get seriously hurt in there if this keeps happening. If you want to go climbing, go to the climbing walls at the Youth Zone and do it somewhere you’re not putting lives at risk.”
Commander Sheridan is chairman of the area’s Prevent, Respond, Enforce and Manage (Prem) group that has placed Pagefield on the top of its priority list. And site owner Pagefield Properties Ltd is being urged to take action to secure the site and is working alongside Wigan Council officers to do so, the Observer understands.
Earlier this year ward councillors Michael McLoughlin and George Davies said a lack of security measures were prompting safety concerns among residents, calling for warning signs to be placed around the perimeter. The images of youngsters scaling the building were captured by a resident - whose identity we have chosen with withhold - concerned about what lies ahead during the school holiday period. The householder said: “I have seen contractors on site and heard the sounds of drilling - but there has been nothing to deter the youths. There has been no improvement over recent weeks.”
Commander Sheridan added: “We are now going to enforce restorative justice schemes for anyone who is caught on site.
“So if you are, you will be cleaning graffiti or picking up litter for a considerable time. And it will go on your record, we need to get serious on this.
“We would actively encourage residents to help us identify anyone who is going on the site by
sending in images or information to the relevant authorities.”