Terrifying footage of ‘gang warfare’ between rival groups of Preston youths has sparked calls for more intensive policing.
The footage, filmed on a phone by a driver caught up in the pitched battle, shows groups of youths brawling with weapons and climbing on to the roof of a passing car.
Residents in Ashton-on-Ribble say they are being terrorised by rival gangs.
The video, which has garnered more than 2,000 shares online, shows a youth standing on a car in the middle of Blackpool Road holding up motorists.
OTHER NEWS>>> Police attacked in Preston with fireworks
The young man, who has what looks like a metal bar in his hand, then appears to hit another person before he is joined by others on bikes, squaring up to each other aggressively.
Beth Balshaw, 50, who lives in Tulketh Road, said: “This behaviour needs to be stamped on before it becomes the norm. Youths like these think they can get away with terrorising the public.
“It’s got to be stopped and I’m not being over sensationalist but if not then the next step could be the knife crime we are seeing in our cities.
“If you take a look at the number of stabbings prior to stop and search ending and now it’s quite frightening.
“Sadly the lads on the video have no fear of being stopped and that’s what needs to change.”
The video, posted on the Ashton-on-Ribble and Riversway PACT (police and community together) Facebook page, has attracted 828 comments.
Writing on the Facebook thread Danny Gardner said: “This has been going on for weeks. Gangs have been coming down from Tanterton to Larches and Savick and attacking local young people.
“They’re carrying knives, baseball bats and metal bars. Preston police know that it’s happening but no one will speak to the police.
“Last weekend a local boy was chased and swiped at with a machete, luckily he wasn’t injured but his clothing was cut.
“Police are understaffed and unable to do anything unless people report these crimes. I’m raising a family in this area and seriously want to move because of how bad things are getting.”
Beth says the young people had held up traffic at around lunchtime on Thursday.
“I’ve got names of people,” said Beth. “There’s one name that is coming up time and time again.
“I don’t want any retaliation from the gang. There’s quite a few of them in Ashton. They go round on bikes, they’re out of control.
“From what I can gather from the Facebook messages I am getting they’re rival gangs between Larches and Tanterton.
“This behaviour has been reported to the police before but nothing seems to have been actioned.
“I have seen them holding up car on Blackpool Road before but never standing on a car.
“They were seen afterwards heading towards woodlands.
“We need to put pressure on the police to do something.
“Surely their parents will recognise them - come on dob them in.”
The video came after residents in Ashton held a neighbourhood meeting to discuss crime in the area.
The relaunch of the Ashton and Riversway PACT group at St Andrews Church Hall in Tulketh Road drew so many people that Beth says many had to listen from the corridor, unable to get into the meeting room.
Beth said: “We are all getting together as neighbours. I did a leaflet campaign for it out of my own money. It was last week and it was so well attended.
“There’s a burglary every other day. People have told police about this but they don’t seem to take it seriously.
“There’s so much anger about what’s going on.
“Everybody is working together, we want a safer area. We should be able to live here without having to worry.”
Beth, who reported the incident to Lancashire police on Monday was told that an officer would be visiting the area imminently.
A Lancashire Police spokesman confirmed an investigation was under way.
He added: “Around 12.15pm on Saturday (November 3) we received reports of public order offences in the Blackpool Road area of Preston.
“It was alleged a number of teenage boys were walking between traffic and fighting with weapons.
“Officers attended the scene with no victims or offenders identified.
“An investigation is under way and enquiries are on-going.
“Anyone with information can contact police on 101 quoting log 0624 of November 3.”
At the Ashton-on-Ribble and Riversway PACT relaunch meeting, which took place on Thursday evening, Andrew Pratt, 60, a retired superintendent in the counter terrorism branch of Lancashire Police gave the group an overview of crime in the area.
Relaying the information to the Post afterwards he said: “In May, June, July, August they had a burglary every other day in a small area of Ashton.
“It’s around St Andrew’s CE Primary School, the traffic lights, Fylde Road and down as far as Lane Ends.
“Someone has broken into a premises every other day. For most of them no one’s been caught.
“Usually if someone’s not seen it happen then you have to use finger prints and DNA. Either they are very good at not leaving finger prints or their finger prints are not in the system.
“From my experience of burglary this is quite a high rate for a small area. Before I left the police the whole of Preston was down to about 70 burglaries in a month.
“I wouldn’t say it was a spike, it’s quite a consistent pattern. There was a real community spirit to want to make some changes at the meeting.”