Residents speak out over crime spree in Wheelton
Residents in a leafy Chorley village are installing security cameras at their homes over fears of theft.
Homeowners in Blackburn Road, Wheelton, are claiming that they have seen a sharp increase in thefts within the last six months.
One resident Stan Roberts, a butcher aged 65, told the Guardian how his neighbour caught thieves red handed trying to steal his motorbike in the early hours of one morning about a month ago.
“My motorbike was almost stolen outside my house at the front window,” he said.
“My neighbour caught them trying to jump start it.
“She shouted at them and it freaked them. The dumped it down the road smashed to bits.
“My next door neighbour, a lady who lives on her own, had her car stolen about six months ago.
“They came right into her house and got the car keys.
“It’s continuous, it’s just unbelievable what’s happening in this village.”
Stan, who has lived in Wheelton for 15 years, said the area has always had a good reputation as a nice place to live.
He said: “It used to be a nice quiet village with no problems at all.”
Jessica Pendleton at sales negotiator at Ben Rose Estate Agents said: “This area in particular is very sought after in Chorley. The house prices vary and homes do go due to the high demand, the views and also the privacy the houses offer in this area.”
Stan says that he and other residents blame customers at the Red Lion pub in Blackburn Road for the increase in theft in the area.
He said: “All this has occurred recently when the Red Lion pub reopened.
“They are running around in the stolen cars and hanging out in the Red Lion and are not being banned.
“They are getting away with it.
“One of my neighbours is monitoring that pub and is in touch with the licensing officials at Chorley Council.
“It’s an absolute disgrace what’s happening.
“Police had to come and remove two stolen cars dumped in my road about two or three months ago.”
Landlord at the Red Lion Phil Entwisle told the Guardian that he had not heard of any of the thefts, nor had he been approached by police over them.
“We have many customers and most of them are very well off and are high up politicians,” he said. “I’ve not heard of any of these crimes that have been reported. If the police were suspicious they’d be coming in to chat to the customers.
“The main source of annoyance is over increased car parking.”
Sergeant Paul Harrison of Lancashire Constabulary said: “We are aware that there is an increased number of vehicles being dumped in and around the area of Blackburn Road. It is something that we are monitoring. There are increased reports of antisocial driving around the Red Lion.”
But Sergeant Harrison said that the connection between the thefts and the Red Lion are “unsubstantiated” at the moment.
Stan said that he and a few of his neighbours, however, are installing CCTV cameras because of the crime spree.
He said: “I’ve had to get security camera in the front and back - three houses in this street are having security cameras installed.”