FEARS over a growing gang culture have prompted a meeting this morning between police, transport bosses, headteachers and councillors are meeting this morning to discuss growing fears over a gang culture following a spate of crime at tram stations in the Bury area. 

The partnership meeting is being held at Bury police station and councillors Tamoor Tariq and Alan Quinn will be attending. 

Cllr Quinn called for the meeting following the string of incidents.

Police are investigating after a group of youths were fighting with knives at Heaton Park Metrolink station at around 9pm on Saturday.

There have also been at least two recent reported robberies in Prestwich, and residents have taken to social media to express their anger.

Cllr Alan Quinn said there were concerns that the incidents were the ‘beginning of a gang culture’.

He said: “There have been a number of muggings involving teenagers and the police are doing what they can to crack down on these issues. I am calling a summit with the backing of Ivan Lewis, Transport for Greater Manchester, police and Bury Council and would like to invite headteachers of Prestwich schools. There is a worry that this could be the beginning of a gang culture in Prestwich. If knives are being brandished it’s completely unacceptable.”

Sergeant Richard Garland, of GMP’s Bury Borough, said: “A number of youths fled down the tram tracks. One was detained, the identity of a second is now known and enquiries are ongoing to identify the third. We have had two recent robberies reported to us in Prestwich. One where the aggrieved family did not support a prosecution and another which is under investigation too.”

Other incidents of attacks have been shared on community Facebook page, Prestwich People, however Sgt Garland is urging people to report directly to police.

He added: “Social media can make an invaluable contribution to our lives. I would ask that those using it and stating they know who are responsible for these robberies contact us on 101 quoting incident 2298 of 080717 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 and let us know what they know. Some comments such as suggesting we are using children as bait to get a conviction are unhelpful, untrue and can create unnecessary hysteria.”

Police have increased patrols around the Metrolink stops and Sgt Garland confirmed the matter discussed on Facebook is under investigation.

Danny Vaughan, head of Metrolink, said: “We’re aware that there’s been a recent spike in anti-social behaviour at some stops on the Bury line. We’re currently working closely with Greater Manchester Police who are investigating a couple of reported incidents and have handed over CCTV footage to help them with their inquiries. We will not tolerate anti-social behaviour on any part of the network and we are taking the appropriate steps to deploy additional Travelsafe officers to areas where they’re needed the most.”

Ivan Lewis MP added: “I am deeply concerned by recent reports of attacks at Metrolink stations.

“I will be working closely with the GM Police, Cllr Alan Quinn and other local councillors to ensure our community is safe.”

Community Contribution

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Contributed by Meena Keano

Thank you 'Prestwich People and Philip for pushing for action on the continued anti-social behaviour at Heaton Park metrolink station. Local residents have reported these issues to the police for months. Let's hope proactive plans are put into place. For example: Cutting back the overgrown wooded area alongside the Heaton Park Metrolink station; adding more lighting/ cameras; monitoring of Metrolink CCTV for anti-social behaviour; ticket inspectors on trams; names/ addresses already provided to the police being followed up; more regular police patrols (with assessments of the impact of funding cuts and police being used to protect corporate interests/ fracking in other counties).
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