Preston residents’ vigilante threat to criminals

Crime map of the St George's area of Preston for December 2014
Crime map of the St George's area of Preston for December 2014
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POLICE have admitted they need to step up reassurance work in Deepdale after residents threatened to take vigilante action following a spate of crimes.

In recent weeks a car was destroyed in an arson attack in St Stephen’s Road and house windows were smashed in Deepdale Road.

Locals believe the same man is responsible for both crimes and has been bragging about it in the street. Although police say they are working to identify those responsible, residents claim officers are not doing enough and have threatened to set up a vigilante-style group to tackle the problems.

One man, speaking for several concerned families, said: “We’re worried about how far this could go.

“What are they waiting for? Resources might be stretched, but that’s not our fault.

“It’s better to be stopping things before they happen than lighting a few candles after a tragedy.”

He added: “People are seriously thinking about getting a vigilante group together, 10 or so strong lads. We shouldn’t have to do it but our families are at risk.”

Latest figures show there were 75 crimes reported to police in the St George’s ward in December – one of the highest in Preston. However, police said crime in the area has fallen 30 per cent in the past year and said residents should never take matters into their own hands.

They assured residents that officers were listening to information provided, but co-operation was needed to make progress.

Insp Astrid Robinson of Lancashire police said: “The person named in connection with the car fire was arrested, but the CCTV was the only evidence and the pictures were too low quality to use for identification.

“Witnesses have also refused to give statements, so we’re struggling with regards to that offence. There are difficulties, but work is being done. There could well be issues with the community feeling in the St George’s area and I will speak to my neighbourhood officers about that.

“There is fear of reprisal, fear of intimidation, but we need to give them the confidence in the police.”