Catching the criminals our way

Adam Eastwood
Adam Eastwood

Residents are turning to technology to stay safe in their own homes with a social media page aiming to help police Catch the Criminals.

The Facebook page serving the Golborne and Lowton areas has been running for less than a year but is a spectacular success with more than 2,500 members.

Catch The Criminals - Lowton and Golborne was set up by resident Adam Eastwood after he was almost the victim of a break-in himself.

The idea of sharing information about anti-social behaviour and circulating pictures of offenders plucked from CCTV footage immediately struck a chord with residents, some of whom have vocally complained about policing cuts in the area.

Adam acknowledges the growth of Catch the Criminals is partly through fed-up homeowners providing evidence in order to demand action from Greater Manchester Police (GMP).

He has been told officers are aware of the group and hopes the information gathered there will prove useful to bring criminals to justice as well as encouraging people to be vigilant.

Adam, 28, said: “A couple of weeks after moving in we heard something in the back garden in the middle of the night and found someone climbing over the fence.

“I’ve got cameras up and found he had walked down the front path and tried the door, which luckily was locked. He tried next door and then went round to the back.

“I jumped up and he did one. Previous to that my ex-girlfriend left her car unlocked and someone snatched her bag.

“The group has been up for around six months and it’s had really good feedback. It’s an easy way to keep people informed and make them aware this stuff does happen.

“We’ve had everything from children’s bikes being stolen right up to someone who was actually beaten and put in hospital. An appeal to see if anyone recognised them got a massive response.

“If it can help the police in any way to secure prosecutions it will have done its job.”

Catch The Criminals provides a stream of posts alerting residents to what neighbours think is suspicious behaviour and sharing advice about keeping homes, sheds, garages and vehicles safe from criminals.

The site also regularly contains descriptions of items taken in thefts in the hope eagle-eyed residents will keep a look out so they can be returned to their rightful owners. Objects which have been described include missing cycles and motorbikes as well as tools, while posts also contain images from security cameras of incidents including a burglary at a nursery.

Adam hopes this continuous flow of information will lead to arrests but acknowledges local impatience with the authorities is growing.

He said: “We spoke to the police about the guy who came round to our garden because he had broken into somebody’s garage. The police said they needed information like that but I don’t think it was ever followed up.

“There’s a massive problem on the streets because you don’t see many police out any more. It seems to be a few people committing these offences and yet the police can’t seem to do anything about it. To me it’s ridiculous.”