“I felt more secure in war in Afghanistan”: the Manchester suburb, where residents are too scared to leave their homes

Families and shop owners living in a northern suburb of Manchester have been horrified to leave their homes after a wave of violence.

A former soldier described Blackley as a “war zone” and said he “felt more secure” while fighting in Afghanistan.

The lifelong local admitted he was “too scared to go to [the] local store at night “over fear of being attacked.

READ MORE: I was told that this area was filled with men harassing women on the street – that’s what I found out myself

Parents believe the area – six miles from Manchester city center – has been “overrun” by teenagers armed with weapons.

A store owner who asked not to be named for fear of being attacked described how he I s stolen from “at least two to three times a week”.

Talking to Manchester Evening News , he said: “Groups of children come all the time with the hood up.

“They either fight outside or come in here to throw the place and steal things.

“It’s gotten so bad I’m always taking pictures and videos – at least two to three times a week now.

Hill Lane and Blackley

“Just getting to work can be scary. It never used to be that bad.”

The CCTV play for the MEN showed a young thug slinging a can into his head, which narrowly missed, leaving a large bulge in the metal cigarette shelf behind the counter.

Another shocking clip revealed a group of teenagers kicking in the glass door of the store.

A lifelong resident of Crab Lane said the area he once enjoyed with friends has become a “war zone”.

The former soldier claimed he “felt safer in Afghanistan” than walking down the street where he grew up.

He said: “When I was younger, my friends and I climbed trees and ate mud and just had fun without the worries of the world.

“It’s changed completely from what it used to be.

“The place is just overrun by teenagers threatening and intimidating people.

“Today, children carry weapons and carry knives around with them. When there are groups of them together, it’s really scary.

“In the evening I’m too scared to even go to the store around the corner from my house and drive there instead.

“You keep looking over your shoulder.”

Residents have said the city is being 'overrun' with groups of teenage gangs
Residents have said the city is being ‘overrun’ with groups of teenage gangs

The ex-soldier said his cousin was threatened with a knife and had his electric scooter stolen recently.

Earlier this month, officers charged six teenagers aged 15 and 16 with robbery involving nearby school children.

And two bus connections were forced to divert from the area after windows were smashed last week.

Other locals told of their fear of their children growing up on the streets of Blackley.

A mother-in-law who asked to remain anonymous said she had bricks thrown through her front window a few weeks ago.

She said: “The kids here have gotten worse and worse and more confident over the years.

“Gangs of them just scare people who live here, unfortunately you learn to live with it after a while. It has been overrun.

“I’ve been here my whole life – it’s been worse since the nearby police station closed. We’ll never see the police around here again.

“I have a 13-year-old daughter and I’m petrified when she leaves the house about who she might encounter or who she’s hanging out with.”

Another mother, who lives in Cecil Road, said her 18-year-old daughter was “too scared to leave the house in the evening” when eggs were peeled repeatedly at her door earlier in the year.

Store owners said they often have to deal with groups of teens starting fights and stealing
Store owners said they often have to deal with groups of teens starting fights and stealing

The same concerns were repeated by another mother of two, 22, who works at a nearby chip shop.

She admitted: “I’m afraid of what the future holds for my children who live around here. It’s nothing like it used to be.

“I did not want them to play out as they get older with the amounts of stabbings and fights you hear about.

“It has just become so uncomfortable, and it is primarily down to the groups of teenagers who run the place.

“Plant Hill Park is particularly bad – I would always avoid there at night.”

Sadly, she added: “As a woman, I would not feel safe even going to the store at night on my own.

“The other day I wanted cigarettes, and because I’m not driving, I ordered a taxi to the store just around the corner. It’s not worth the risk.”

Residents believe antisocial behavior has worsened since the closure of the local Plant Hill police station in 2015.

They also blamed the ‘lack’ of police presence for the increase in problems.

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And despite the authorities’ efforts to engage the local community, namely through the Manchester Youth Zone, the 60-year-old local Martin said: “Kids are just getting bored these days.

“They are being swallowed up by social media and unable to have a conversation at all.

“Many of the problems with antisocial behavior and violence stem from young people having nothing to do.

A defiant woman said, “We will not stand for this.

“Something needs to be done about it. Many of us are good hardworking people who have lived here all my life.”

Greater Manchester Police told the men that patrols had been intensified following recent reports.

Chief Inspector Simon Nasim of the City of Manchester said police are aware of rising reports of antisocial behavior.

He added that despite the closure of Plant Hill Police Station more than five years ago, the commitment and ability to service the communities in Blackley has not been affected.

Local teams now work from Harpurhey – 10 minutes drive away.

Police patrols have been increased in 'areas of concern'
Police patrols have been increased in ‘areas of concern’

Ch Insp Nasim said: “The local Neighborhood Policing Team is aware of reports of antisocial behavior in the Higher Blackley area within the last few weeks.

“These reports range from strolling in common areas within sheltered housing and apartment blocks, criminal damage and other associated general antisocial behavior.

“We understand the impact of antisocial behavior on the lives of local residents and I would like to assure you that the neighborhood police are committed to tackling the issues and will take action against any perpetrators identified.

“We have increased patrols in the areas of concern and we are working with our partners from the Manchester City Council and the Anti-Social Behavior Action Team (ASBAT) to address the issues and deter and disrupt those who carry them out. offenses.

“We are also carrying out a youth intervention project, which is aimed at young people carrying knives or weapons, and has officers from the Neighborhood Policing Team who go to schools and youth facilities such as the Manchester Youth Zone, where outreach work is coordinated.

“This is part of the preventive work we do to prevent young people from being caught in crime, as we work to inform about the consequences of this type of crime and help focus their time more positively.

Plant Hill Police Station closed as a functioning police station over five years ago, and Neighborhood Policing Teams operate from Harpurhey Police Station, which is only a short distance from the Blackley area.

“This does not affect our commitment or ability to serve the communities of Blackley.

“We will continue to target those responsible, and last week five male youths and an adult man were charged in connection with offenses committed in the Blackley area, including robbery and wounding and possession of knives, and will as a result meet in in the new year.

“We encourage anyone with information that can help us identify those responsible to contact us.”

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