Police in Preston have appealed for calm and said private messaging apps are fuelling ‘youth gang disputes’.Advertisement
Chief Inspector Gary Crowe gave an update via Facebook following the disorder in Penwortham on Tuesday evening.
Regular patrols have been taking place throughout Penwortham and Broadgate throughout Wednesday.
Four people were arrested following what police say was a ‘pre-arranged fight’ in Liverpool Road.
Chief Insp Crowe said: “We know that the altercation between two groups on Liverpool Road yesterday has caused concern amongst lots of residents and businesses who witnessed it, in particular schoolchildren who were in the area at the time.
“It involved a group of rival youths who are known to each other and had met up for a pre-arranged fight. Our officers were already in the area due to previous issues with youths which we are aware of.
“Thankfully we dealt with the disorder before anyone got seriously hurt and arrested four people, who remain in police custody. There was and is not any on-going wider threat to the public and for this reason, I would urge you to go about your daily business as usual.
“We will continue to have officers patrolling Penwortham, both on foot and from Mounted, which will include school areas. This is to make you feel safe and reassured, and isn’t in response to any specific intelligence. We will also be monitoring the area and let me be clear, we will not tolerate thuggish, violent behaviour like we saw yesterday.
“We have been visiting shops and businesses along Liverpool Road as part of our enquiries and to offer some reassurance.
“We cannot tackle the issue of rival youths and any potential subsequent disruption alone; we are working closely with education services and children’s social care to look at a way forward in conjunction with schools.”
Insp Crowe went on to say messaging apps on smartphones are fuelling disputes.
He said: “I would also encourage parents to think about what their child or children are up to on social media as yesterday’s fight and other incidents have been fuelled and discussed on WhatsApp and Snapchat.”
Following the incident, which took place around 3.45pm outside the Spar in Penwortham, a 17-year-old boy from Penwortham was arrested on suspicion of possession of a knife. A second 17-year-old from Chorley was arrested on suspicion of posession of an offensive weapon.
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Police also arrested a 21-year-old man following a police chase and a 19-year-old woman was also arrested for assisting an offender.
A Section 60 order was put in place allowing police to stop and search throughout Lower Penwortham and Broadgate.
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Anyone with information can call 101 quoting incident reference 915 of today (March 26th). Alternatively independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800555111.