Probe into shotgun incidents on Preston estate

PROBE: Det Insp Atkinson
PROBE: Det Insp Atkinson
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Two shotgun incidents on an estate in the last six months are now believed to be linked, detectives said today.

The incidents came to light publicly after concerned residents from Kingsfold estate in Penwortham, near Preston, contacted the Evening Post.

Police launched a probe into an attempted murder on Lilac Avenue after a drive by shooting on November 10 last year.

They are also investigating a second incident on April 20 at around 12.30am, when the door of a detached garage on Higher Croft was sprayed with shotgun pellets.

There have been several arrests but nobody has been charged.

Today officers said the cases were “highly unusual” and insisted there was no gun issue on the estate.

However, the force has recently set up a team of officers to tackle and prevent gang related crime in the area.

Det Chf Insp Steve Dowson, of Preston Police, said: “There’s not an increased problem or risk to the public, its about addressing gang related criminality and targeting our resources to prevent incidents.”

Det Insp Warren Atkinson added: “I would like to highlight the fact serious violence and gun crime affects a very small number of people.

“Firearms are rarely used, but sometimes feature in disputes between rival criminal gangs.

“With the reduction in resources we want to prioritise our response to the public’s concerns and ensure we reduce incidents of serious crime which involves gangs.”

In previous years Kingsfold hit the headlines when a group of juveniles calling themselves Kingsfold Youth Defence started committing crimes.

It is understood some of the suspects linked to the recent incidents used to be involved with the now defunct group.

A resident from Kingsfold, who did not wish to be named, said: “There’s all kinds of stuff happening on the estate. Kingsfold is going stupid.

“The Kingsfold Young Defenders have disbanded and are now fighting each other. A couple of guns have ended up down there on the estate.

“All the residents are wondering why it is going unreported.”

Det Insp Atkinson said: “The people believed to be responsible for the firearms jobs are a small group of adults involved in a criminal feud with each other, we believe all parties are known to each other.

“The garage is linked to a house that was empty at the time. Nobody saw the incident but a number of witnesses said they heard the shots.”