‘Drugs, all-night parties and violence’: The Salford park treated like a ‘nightclub’ which became the scene of an ‘avoidable’ tragedy

Locals living close to a problem park where a 17-year-old boy was stabbed to death say the tragedy could have been avoided – if the park had been locked at night.

The body of Alan Szelugowski was found at 7.30am on Sunday (January 30) in Clowes Park, Broughton Park, by a man walking his dog.

He was described as a “polite, respectful young lad”.

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As his “distraught” family searches for answers, residents living close by say they had been begging for action for years before the tragedy.

They say Clowes Park say the park has been treated like a ‘nightclub’ for years. – becoming a hotspot for young people from across Manchester.

Clowes Park, Salford
Clowes Park, Salford

There have been reports of loud music, drug usage, littering, fights and fireworks let off at all hours in the community space.

One person who has lived in the area for 34 years is a local resident Mr Halpern, he says that while the park has always been busy late at night, things have become worse the last four years.

I have told the MEN that he and his neighbors avoid the park during the day due to the drug paraphernalia left on the floor from the rowdy night before and that he has to close his windows at night due to the unbearable noise.

Tactical Aid officers and forensic teams at the scene

speaking to the Manchester Evening News he said: “I’ve lived here practically all my life and the park has been a major part of that.

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“Unfortunately it’s been terrible, I get home late from work quite regularly and I think there’s been two nights where there isn’t fireworks around 3am.

“There’s very rarely a quiet night at the park. There’s shrill noises, loud music, violence.

“I mean, I’ve got kid’s at home, it’s quite scary.

Some residents say the park has always been a problem

“The smell of drugs, the smell of people burning stuff, it’s terrible it’s just nonstop. People take boomboxes there and have huge parties. It’s not a place you want to be.

“Last summer the council trialled closing the park overnight for six weeks, and it was the most peaceful six weeks I’ve ever had in probably 15 years.”

Another resident who did not want to be named, said that they were shocked that the park is still open despite recent events.

They said: “Believe it or not, last night the park was open once again, with people inside throughout the night.

“It’s as if the council and police don’t care about the safety of the youth or local residents.

“Shocking really, so soon after this week’s events.”

Police scene at Clowes Park
Some were shocked to see the park still open despite recent events

Kersal Ward councilor Ari Leitner says he has been campaigning for the park to be closed overnight for years following discussions with residents. He said the park is a magnet for anti-social behavior and ‘treated like a nightclub’ by youths.

“First and foremost, my heart goes out to the family of the victim after this tragic incident,” he said.

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“Most people in the area don’t take their kids to the park because it’s being treated like a nightclub. There is music, fighting, races and all sorts that goes on there.

“It is a go to place for people all over Great Manchester, unfortunately. It’s become a real hub of anti-social activity. A lot of the residents have been begging for the park to be locked late at night.

Inquiries into Alan’s death are continuing

“Something’s got to change, this has been going on for years and nobody’s shocked.

“I don’t take my kids there and other people have told me they don’t take their kids there.

“I’ve been told that it’ll cost too much to lock the park, my response to that is that the cost of not locking the park has sadly been somebody’s life.”

Greater Manchester Police have arrested a 17-year-old boy on suspicion of murder.

Inquiries into Alan’s death are continuing. Police are urging anyone with information to come forward.

Anyone with information about the incident in Clowes Park can submit it to GMP at https://mipp.police.uk/operation/06GMP22F20-PO1

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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