Penwortham knife attack: here is everything we know so far
Four people have been arrested after a mass armed brawl broke out in Penwortham.
This is everything we know so far after a group of masked men armed with a knife, baseball bat and metal bar confronted a group of youths in Penwortham yesterday afternoon (Tuesday, March 26).
At around 3.45pm yesterday afternoon (Tuesday, March 26), two off duty police officers witnessed a violent 'altercation' between a group of around 12 people close to the Spar convenience store in Liverpool Road, Penwortham.
One of the group was seen wielding a baseball bat while another had a large knife and a third was in possession of a metal bar.
The off duty officers, along with patrols already nearby, rushed to the scene to break up the violent melee.
A number of people involved in the disorder fled from the officers, including a man who sped away in a white Citroen DS3.
The vehicle was pursued in a chase around Penwortham and Longton before it was stopped by police stingers in Pope Lane, near the junction with Lindle Lane at around 4.30pm.
The driver of the Citroen DS3, a 21-year-old man from Penwortham, was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving.
A 17-year-old boy from Penwortham was arrested at the scene on suspicion of possession of a knife/bladed article.
A second boy, aged 17 and from the Chorley area, was arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon.
A woman, 19, from Preston, seen close to a Vauxhall Vectra also believed to have been involved, was arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.
All four remain in police custody at this time.
Weapons involved in the brawl
Two off duty police officers and a number of eye witnesses reported seeing a man brandishing a large machete-type knife. But the knife has not been seized or recovered.
Another male involved in the brawl had been seen wielding a baseball bat, which was recovered close by.
Another man was seen carrying a metal bar, but the improvised weapon has not been recovered.
Police have said that no one is believed to have been injured in the clash.
But eyewitnesses reported seeing a teenage girl being assaulted by one of the masked men. She is believed to have escaped after police arrived at the scene.
What people saw
Eyewitness Emma Roberts, of Roberts and Co Sales and Lettings in Liverpool Road, said: "We did see it. A little bit happened just outside our shop and it went further down the road.
"Essentially it was two men or teenagers with balaclavas - one had a machete, one had a baseball bat.
"My colleague saw the one with the baseball bat, we think he assaulted a girl."Then they ran off in the direction of the Fleece pub car park.
"They ended up where the old Lloyds bank is then the police arrived and apprehended them."She added: "There was lots of police, lots of schoolchildren around - lots of screaming. It wasn't very nice at all."
She said she rang the police as soon as she saw a man walking past holding a 'machete'."I did ask the police officer if anybody had been hurt with the girl being assaulted", said Emma.
She said she understood the girl ran off after the incident.The businesswoman said people were shocked, especially as there were schoolchildren in the area at the time."The staff were very shocked and initially worried about the children," she said.
"Our first thoughts were concerns for the safety of the children."She said she and other witnesses passed on their information to the police.
Samantha Eastham, of Naughty Nails Tanning and Beauty in Hawksbury Drive, Penwortham, said one of the suspects charged into her shop to escape police at around 4.30pm.
She said the man had jumped out of a white car parked outside the salon, barged into the shop and ran out through the back.She said: "I shouted at him and ran after him. He went right through the kitchen and kept going.
"I was right behind him. I've no idea what I would have done if I had caught him.
"The police came soon afterwards and caught him."
Police give chase to getaway car
Lancashire Post reporter Catherine Musgrove was driving along Chapel Lane, Longton, with her one-year-old son at around 4.25pm, when she was caught up in the incident.
She said: "I was driving home along Chapel Lane towards the centre of Longton, when I got to the section of road near the Rams Head, where the road narrows to one lane outside a row of cottages.
"It was my right of way and there was nothing blocking my exit, so I started driving along.
"Almost as soon as I started driving along the one-way section, I noticed a small white hatchback car, either a Peugeot or a Citroen, being driven at speed at me.
"At that point, the car was passing the entrance to the pub car park and it was being chased by a police 4X4 with lights and sirens, coming round the bend from Liverpool Road, from the direction of Hutton.
"The car wasn't stopping and I had nowhere to go, because there were bollards to my left and a pavement to my right.
"I fully expected it to hit me head-on, but instead, the driver mounted the pavement, and with two wheels on the pavement and two-wheels on the road, managed to squeeze passed me with inches to spare.
"The police car had to stop to let me get passed, because there was no room.
"It all happened in a flash and it was only afterwards I began thinking what would have happened had the car hit me and my son, or had someone been on the footpath."
What happens now?
Lancashire Police authorised Section 60 powers in parts of Penwortham (map pictured) between 6pm on Tuesday, March 26 and 6am Wednesday, March 27.
Section 60 is a power that allows police officers to stop and search people and vehicles without suspicion.
It means police can search anyone in a certain area if there is sufficient evidence that serious violence has taken place or may take place.
What police have said
Ch Insp Steven Sansbury said: “I would like to reassure people that this incident has now concluded and we have made arrests thanks to the swift actions of our officers who were in the area.
“That said, we are aware of the concern that this will have caused people and will continue to patrol the area.
"In addition, Section 60 powers have been put in place in the Broadgate and Lower Penwortham areas.
"This gives us the power to search people or vehicles without suspicion in those areas.
"Please be assured that it’s not about targeting people, but about making sure we do all we can to keep people safe.
"These powers will remain in place overnight.
“If you know anything about the incident or the people involved, please speak to us as soon as possible.
"If you see anything suspicious in the area, such as the weapons that may have been involved, please do not touch them but ring the police immediately.”
You can call 101 quoting incident reference 915 of March 26. Alternatively independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org.