Raids prompt call for unity

A SPATE of terrifying robberies has prompted a Leigh woman to ask local businesses to meet up to try to make the town safer.

Caroline Sewell, whose husband Nick is the general manager of the new Frankie and Benny’s restaurant at the Loom development, is asking for community support for ideas to combat crime.

Frankie and Benny’s was attacked by three men wearing balaclavas, who broke into the restaurant and stole cash on Sunday, March 4, one of the men threatening staff with a machete.

But this is just one of several businesses which have been targeted in recent weeks, the latest being an incident at Bella Bistro, on Railway Road, last Friday.

Two men wearing motorcycle helmets raided Noble’s Amusements on Bradshawgate last Wednesday evening, threatening staff with a machete and a knife before getting away with cash on a motorcycle.

Three men, armed with a crowbar, followed a man and a woman into their home on Hurst Street on February 25. The men escaped with cash after searching the house.

Greater Manchester Police are currently investigating the incidents. There is no evidence at this stage that they are linked.

Caroline says the spate of robberies have left the Leigh community deeply shocked.

She said: “You expect a crime wave like this to happen in a large city, not somewhere like Leigh.

“I have lived in Leigh from birth, and this is the first time that I have felt unsafe, even in my own home.”

Leigh MP Andy Burnham said: “The spate of similar incidents is obviously a very worrying situation indeed, and I have spoken directly to the Chief Superintendent of Greater Manchester Police.

“We have got lots of new businesses in the town and we are very proud of all the new developments. We want to ensure they are safe places where people can go and enjoy themselves.

“It is vital the community comes together to give criminals no space in which to operate, and we will work to ensure there is no repeat of these events.”

Chief Inspector Stuart Wrudd of Greater Manchester Police’s Wigan Division said: “Neighbourhood Policing Teams are carrying out high-visibility patrols and detectives from Wigan CID are investigating the robberies and following some leads.”

Anyone with information can contact Wigan CID on 0161 856 5307, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.