One mad night of chaos rocked our estate. This is what we’re facing three months later


It was the night when Brinnington’s problems exploded into view.

Halloween and Bonfire Night is always a busy night for the police – but the tirade of abuse, arson, and fireworks launched by ’25 youths’ was a level of anti-social behavior the estate had not seen in years.

Months on from that night of trouble, the MEN visited the Stockport neighborhood – recently named as one of the UK’s most deprived – to see how life has been for residents since.

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Local people told us of the challenges they face as a new council report points to the ‘One Stockport Plan’ as its tool to tackle ‘pockets of very concentrated deprivation’ .

Two areas of Brinnington, and two in nearby Lancashire Hill, rank in the top one percent for deprivation nationally.

‘Kids are running amok on dirt bikes’

Northumberland Road is only three-quarters of a mile long, but it is the beating heart of Brinnington.

It takes in tower blocks, cul-de-sacs, the library, a bus route, shops, and a leisure complex — which is being used a Covid-19 testing site.

It’s also the place where emergency services came under attack on Halloween last year, when youths set fire to bins and fence panels in the middle of the road, before turning on police.

Police say they’re targeting the anti-social behavior issue in Brinnington, and Stockport Council says it has a program to engage the area’s young people.

But many residents of the MEN spoke to said the problem has persisted.

There’s a lot,” Eric Linney says. “Kids are running amok on dirt bikes.

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“There’s not enough police. It is really annoying churning up all the fields. We dare not touch them.”

The 67-year-old’s views are shared by Malcolm and Alison Davies.

The couple have been married for 40 years, and have seen Brinnington change through the years, they add.

The 63-year-olds talk of youths ‘throwing stones and conkers at cars, buses, and taxis’, youths who ‘go up on quads and motorbikes’.

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Like the Davies’, Kevin Jones, 61, has called the area home for decades.

“I have lived here all my life,” he says. “It is what it is, just carry on. When I was a kid if you backchatted you got a clip. They do not care.

“Police will not chase them on their bikes. It will never get better.”

Another man, who asks to stay anonymous, says he has known the ‘kids’ — a term used by almost everyone the MEN speaks to—to set fires off in bin chutes in the ward’s tower blocks.

“They just do not care,” he adds. “They will talk to you like s***.

“It is a joke. A really big joke.”

Malcolm and Alison Davies, 63

Another local, Theresa Yates, is succinct.

“It is the kids,” she says. “Some of them are rampant. Where I am it’s quiet, I’m lucky.

“It is normally on this road, they’re acting like they shouldn’t.”

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‘There are a lot of nice people on this estate’

Despite concerns about the ‘kids’. many also praised the community spirit in ‘Brinny’.

The problem is a small number of people ‘ruining it’ for everyone else, one couple, who asked not to be named, said.

“The police come down here with flashing lights and there’s no end product.

“We’ve been here for 30 years and want to leave.

“Stockport Homes say [nothing can be done] without reporting it — but then you’re a marked man. It has ups and downs.

“There are a lot of nice people on this estate. It’s a group of people — about 20 — who are like this. The police do not seem bothered.”

Carol Dawson

Mohammed Khan, another resident, told the MEN that there was no excuse for anti-social behavior when Brinnington has good amenities.

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“I do not understand why,” he said. “We have a gym and park. I do not know what more the government can do. I do not get it. We have everything local, there’s a pharmacy and shops.”

He told the MEN he had been targeted and assaulted, adding: “I got jumped here because of the color of my skin. I am being moved out.

“A lot of Asian people get attacked. In my block it’s quite bad.”

Shops in the estate

Still, the amenities praised by Mohammed came under criticism from Carol Dawson, a local who believes the redevelopment of the shopping area, about 15 years ago, changed the area’s character.

“It was a community,” she says.

“Your friends would just be in the shops. They pulled it all down. Then they put this s*** up in its place.”

But not everyone thinks things are getting worse.

Joanna Street, 63, says: “I don’t think it [is deprived].

“I think it is getting better from when I first moved, in 1993. It was rough then, very rough. I do not go out, I think it is quite pleasant.”

What the police say:

Stockport’s new borough commander, Ch Supt John Webster, told the MEN that anti-social behavior ‘has no place in our community’, which is why it ‘remains a key priority’ for his division.

“We are aware and recognize the concerns from residents in Brinnington and the surrounding area regarding a series of anti-social behavior incidents in recent months,” he added.

“We work very closely with the councilors and partner agencies, especially Stockport Homes.

“Anti-social behavior has no place in our community and tackling this issue remains to be a key priority for our officers.

“Last year we introduced a number of measures, alongside residents and partner agencies, to confront this issue including a major operation in the run-up to Bonfire Night.

“We regularly have dedicated patrols in place to monitor activity in the area and we use information from residents to help prevent further incidents.

“And, last week, we arrested 17 people across Stockport for a range of offenses as part of Operation Avro.

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“I want to reiterate that those who take part in this unacceptable behavior will be caught and face the consequences of their actions.

“And I would encourage anyone who experiences issues to please contact the police and make a report.”

What Stockport council says:

A spokesperson for both Stockport Homes and the council said they are working with young people in the area – holding weekly drop in sessions which attract 50 or 60 children.

“We are aware that there are issues in Brinnington but these are being dealt with and the examples below demonstrate the work that is taking place to tackle the issues raised,” the statement began.

“A multi-agency group continue to meet on a monthly basis to discuss individual children and young people who are causing anti-social behavior and youth disorder in the local area. Joint action is taken using a variety of interventions including those available under anti- social behavior legislation.

“This Detached Youth Work Team hold two sessions per week in Brinnington where between 50 and 60 young people are seen and encouraged to engage with the youth workers, who work alongside colleagues from Stockport Homes, Life Leisure and the voluntary and community sector.

“A session on Monday evening is based at Life Leisure where around 40 young people attend to play football and to engage with the youth workers.

“Stockport Council have recently committed to Positive Investment Funding to ensure that the Detached Youth Work Team can continue to reduce ASB and further programs are being developed and rolled out in Brinnington, as well as other key areas across the borough.

“Stockport Council Youth Justice and Targeted Youth Support Officers continue to provide input in all local schools, primary and secondary, and deliver sessions on a range of different subjects including ASB, knife and weapon crime awareness, crime prevention, hate crime, online harms.

“Case managers continue to work with children and young people referred to the service from any agencies working in the Brinnington area, including police colleagues.”

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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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