Our town is being terrorised by young thugs randomly attacking strangers & filming it for social media – we're fed up | The Sun
RESIDENTS say their town is being terrorised by young thugs who film their random attacks on strangers for social media.
Locals in Wigan, Greater Manchester have told of their fears after a spate of "happy slapping" attacks by tearaways.
The violent fad – which originated in the mid noughties – appears to have made an unwelcome return to the town after a number of attacks in the past two months.
"Happy slapping" involves one of more people attacking random victims and recording the assaults, with the video footage frequently posted on social media.
Locals said visitors to the town centre would now be “scared” and “wary” of being attacked themselves.
Mother-of-three Sam Ashcroft, 46, saiid: “I am a bit worried, especially for my children because they come into the town more than I do.
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“It might get a bit scary if these kind of attacks are going on.”
Catherine Derbyshire, 48, said: “I don’t tend to come into Wigan that often.
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“But I would be worried if I did, especially if I was on my own, because when I’m wandering around I’m not really watching what’s going on.
“It would be really frightening for older people if they got attacked.”
Luckman Vali, 41, who runs the Fone Shop in the indoor market, said the attacks could discourage people from coming into the town centre and impact shops and businesses.
He said: “A lot of the kids who hang around town use bad language and don’t show respect.
“The situation is already quite bad so these attacks will just make it worse for shoppers.
“Wigan already has a bad reputation.”
Abdul Hadi, 78, said the attacks were borne out of a “lack of respect” from some youngsters.
“If they had more respect the attacks wouldn’t happen,” he said.
“I’ve had youths bad mouth me and barge past me even though I use walking sticks. There’s just no respect.”
Ruth Dean, 74, said: “It’s a bit worrying this is going on.
“It wouldn’t stop me coming in the town centre but I will be more wary now.”
She added: “There’s always something going on, but you’re never going to be able to stop it.”
A lot of the kids who hang around town use bad language and don’t show respect
Another shopper, who didn’t wish to be named, said he’d noticed an upturn in anti-social behaviour in the town centre.
“I’ve seen youths hanging around near the train station at night and there’s always a few cases of trouble,” he said.
“So these ‘happy slapping’ attacks will be a worry for anyone who comes into the town centre at night.”
Jade Ellen, 22, who works at the Over Door bakery and carvery in the indoor market, said the attacks were “obviously” not good for Wigan’s image.
“We get groups of kids coming and most of them are well behaved, but there are others who cause trouble.
“If some are getting up to anti-social behaviour, the problem is they all end up getting a bad label. But it’s the same in a lot of other places.”
Police, who are investigating several filmed attacks on children, have arrested three youngsters aged 11 and 13.
They were detained on suspicion of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and issuing threats to kill following a number of incidents in February and March.
They have since been bailed, pending further inquiries.
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Det Insp Chris Broad of Greater Manchester Police’s Wigan CID said: “These arrests come from a series of assaults in Wigan town centre, where young children, the youngest being nine years old have been targeted and then assaulted whilst being filmed on mobile phones.
“Our inquiries remain ongoing and we are appealing for any information that people may have in relation to these incidents to get in touch with officers.”
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