01895 639912 SERVING THE NATION’S TRADERS SINCE 1922 MARCH 29 - APRIL 11, 2019 No. 4949 70p Youths run amok at market

A large group of youths were involved in a disturbance at a Greater Manchester market and a shopping centre which resulted in a trader and police officer being physically assaulted. The youths ran amok

in Wigan Market and The Galleries shopping centre, and stallholders as well as opposition councillors are now demanding that Wigan Council implement some major security improvements, forcing the authority to defend its arrangements for keeping the town centre safe. Trouble began at the indoor

market in Wigan town centre on the evening of Friday March 15, when up to 15 young people began damaging stalls and behaving in an antisocial manner. When flower seller Dave

Martin attempted to move them on from around his business, a group of several youths surrounded him and he was punched in the face. Security was alerted and

the scene was attended by PCSOs (Police Community Support Officers), but shortly afterwards more problems flared up in The Galleries shopping centre, leading to further pol ice being requested. It is understood that an

officer was struck by one of the teenagers, who had reportedly refused a drug search, following which the teenager was arrested. This is not the first time there

has been trouble, and traders want the council to clamp down on this bad behaviour, claiming the authority has not done enough to protect stallholders. However, Wigan Council

insists that it takes the safety of its retail workers extremely seriously, and that it is working hard to ensure those responsible for the incidents are brought to book. Mr Martin, who has worked

his flower stall on the market for around 30 years, said he had to use a metal bar to defend himself. “It’s getting out of hand with young kids kicking round

ISSN 2057–6781 The Galleries shopping centre (Photo: Rept0n1x)

the market and ganging up causing problems,” he told local media. “They were sat on the flower

table as I was trying to pack up. I told them to move and they started hitting me. There was a bar for winding the stall up so I used that to fend them off. “I’m not an aggressive

person, but I’m not letting kids of that age intimidate me.” Wigan Market Traders Association co-chairman Mike O’Connor added: “It all started in the market and then spilled out into the alleyway leading to the square. Dave has ended up having these youths setting about him. “We’ve had problems

with lights on stalls in the square being smashed after traders have gone and we’ve had bars getting bent from them swinging on it. It’s just wanton destruction. There’s also rubbish getting thrown everywhere. “Traders are going to get pushed into a corner and could react badly if this goes on, and they shouldn’t be in that position in the first place. “Our livelihoods are getting

damaged and we’re on the edge here. “It’s not like this every

night but it is probably once every few weeks, and the PCSOs have told me they are struggling to keep a lid on it.” Cllr Paul Maiden, an

independent representative for Hindley Green ward, told local media: “There’s only one security guard in the market

and he was overwhelmed. There’s also two in The Galleries. “The place is unsafe. If I ran

a music venue with that level of security staff I would be shut down. “Now someone has been

assaulted and as far as I’m concerned it’s down to the council not paying for the correct security.” Wigan Council, however, rejected the suggestion it was not doing enough to protect people, outlining in detail its security arrangements and condemning the behaviour of those involved in the recent incident. Director for economy and

skills, Becca Heron, told local media: “The safety of staff working on both of these sites and the general public is something we take extremely seriously, and we work hard to protect them and defuse situations such as this as quickly as possible. “We will work closely with

the police to ensure the perpetrators are brought to account. “The market works in

partnership with The Galleries to provide security provision across the sites. The Galleries provide regular patrols of the whole market site during opening hours Monday through to Saturday. “In addition to the regular

patrols we can call The Galler- ies security team at any time for additional support if an incident arises at the market.

Trouble flared at Wigan indoor market (Photo: Rept0n1x)

“The market service contracts in separate security cover to provide an extra security presence during the trading week; they stay on site until the market is closed every evening. “This cover is extended

during busy periods of the year including school holidays and seasonal holidays. “The market security officer

is also linked via radio to The Galleries, Shop Watch and

Central Watch. This provides a joined up town centre-wide network of officers to deal with any eventuality.”

Council to bid for funding

Wind keeps traders away

Page 19

INSIDE... Page 3

Big plans for historic market

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Contact: Office– 01895 639912 Sam – 07737 630843 Les – 07971 738239


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