Young people have been riding bikes into the Merseyway Shopping Center in Stockport, Greater Manchester, with shopkeepers complaining of thefts and anti-social behaviour.
Image: Manchester Evening News)
Groups of young people have been riding bikes into stores and launching items around, shopkeepers have said.
Stockport in Greater Manchester is currently enduring a surge of anti-social behaviour, with police issuing a warning to parents.
Kids as young as nine have been up to no good in Merseyway Shopping Centre, harassing workers and shoppers, Manchester Evening News reported.
On one occasion a group of 25 boys and girls became embroiled in a large brawl before racing into shops and making a mess.
According to shop workers things came to a head on March 26, when children rode their bikes around shops and launched items at each other.
Have you been the victim of anti-social behaviour? Email [email protected]
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The incident prompted Stockport police to post a message on its Facebook page saying young people were ‘running riot’.
Salim Patel has been working at Bhaji newsagents, just outside the entrance of Merseyway, for 10 years.
He said that anti-social behavior has always been an issue, but it has definitely increased in recent months.
When we entered the shop and asked him about the police statement, he simply shook his head and said “they’re causing so much trouble”.
“They come in and ask for a vape but as soon as I ask for some ID they just start shouting abuse,” Mr Patel added.
“A group of six will all come in at the same time with some just stealing stock, I tell them to stop what they’re doing but they just don’t listen.
“I’m in here on my own and need to be behind the kiosk, it can be very intimidating when there’s a big group.
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“I call for security straight away but by then it’s already too late. You can’t say anything to them (the children) they just don’t care.
“Sometimes it’s absolutely terrible to work here. I’ve been here 10 years but it’s got so much worse recently, at the weekends there is so much trouble.
“I can see them stealing things but I just can’t do anything when there’s a big group. Sometimes kids are even coming in with their parents and stealing still, it’s like they’re being encouraged too, but nobody listens.”
A senior sales assistant from HMV said that all the surrounding businesses were suffering, with groups running riot over recent weeks.
“Speak to any retailer here and they’ll tell you the same thing,” he said.
“You might get two or three groups all combining with crowds of at least 25 or so forming and looking for trouble.
“Last week we had someone, who could have only been nine or 10, ride their bike into the shop and make as much mess as they could.
“At the weekend there were lots of fights, all between themselves. It’s been a big problem recently.
“It can happen any day of the week too, not just weekends or school holidays when you might expect more kids around.
“At least two or three times a week there’s trouble kicking off with really young looking kids recently.
“They’re just looking to get a rise out of someone. It’s like they’re wanting police or security to be called so they can have fun running away from it.
Manchester Evening News)
“It’s been a bit better this week since the police did that post and hopefully more is done to keep on top of it.
“We can’t really do anything either, they’re just young kids. And they know that we can only really ask them to politely leave but nothing more.
“It seems like they’re doing this just because they’re bored, they’ve got nothing better to do.”
The story was very much the same in the Ann Summers store opposite.
“It’s getting ridiculous now,” one member of staff said.
“You can hear them coming and we have to go and stand at the store to stop them coming in. On Saturday a young kid rode in on his bike, it’s crazy.
“People are always having to call security on their radio to help. If you argue with them they start throwing drinks around, it’s become a massive problem now.
“We’ve got a business to try and run but this going on just makes it a lot harder than it needs to be. You always see the same faces too.
£Hopefully the police do genuinely deliver what they’re promising from that post, we need it.”
There was a clear and large security presence around the shopping center on a Thursday afternoon.
One young man was stopped by security before trying to cycle through the Merseyway centre, with an argument starting when they were asked to leave their bike outside.
One man shopping with his wife, who wished not to be named, said: “We used to come here every weekend for shopping or going to cafes.
“It’s okay around the market but can be terrible down here. There’s always big groups around on bikes and these scooters. Police definitely need to be doing more about it.”
GMP Stockport have placed a lot of emphasis on parents to make sure their kids aren’t visiting the area after school and getting involved in trouble.
The full statement from GMP Stockport said: “Parents and guardians – Do you know where your kids are? Recently there has been a large increase in children aged nine to 17 coming to Stockport Town Center and doing what I can only describe as running riot.
“I have charged my team to tackle this as it simply isn’t fair on people who are trying to go about their daily business, be that shopping, socializing, travelling, working or any other reasons.
“Please can I ask you all as parents, carers and guardians to speak to your children and make sure they are not coming to the town, after school and causing issues with their friends.
“We will be using our powers of arrest where they are required and conducting home visits to speak to you if you children are involved in less serious offenses.
“Please help us, your community and your children by doing your bit to keep them out of trouble.”