Deepdale residents tell of shock after knife attacks
Residents and traders in Deepdale spoke of their shock and horror after two people were stabbed in separate attacks in the area.
While some said that, despite the violence, they still felt safe in the Blackpool Road area, others were more anxious, calling for CCTV cameras, greater police presence and more lighting as a deterrence.
A 16-year-old boy from Preston, arrested on suspicion of attempted robbery, robbery and section 18 wounding, is currently in police custody.
The general consensus among residents and shop owners was that the attacks were not gang-related, but members of the public differed over whether they felt safe or not following the spate of violence.
Owner of Blackpool Road sandwich shop, I’m Hungry, Steph Condon, 30, is worried for her staff who are sometimes in the cafe alone in the evenings.
“I’m going to get CCTV cameras up in the shop and on the door,” she said. “I don’t feel safe, not with all this going on. On Sunday night I was driving on Blackpool Road and Sainsbury’s hill was all taped off. A police car was there with a few officers. There was tape across Sainsbury’s entrance and lots of people standing about.
“It’s not gang related because he’s done it to an old man, a woman and a young boy. They are members of the public.”
Joanne McGough, owner of butty van Goffy’s parked at Deepdale Retail Park says she still feels safe setting up shop by herself in the morning.
“I feel safe here,” she said. “There’s 24/7 security on here. I opened up this morning at 8am by myself. I knew what had happened and I still felt safe.
“I don’t think it’s gang related because there were three separate incidents. They have targeted people of all ages.”
In the first attack on Sunday a man in his 50s was approached at Sainsbury’s at Deepdale and stabbed in the abdomen at around 3.45pm. Following the attack he was taken to hospital to undergo surgery. A police spokesman confirmed that his injury is not believed to be life-threatening.
Then, at around 6.45pm, a woman in her 20s in the Blackpool Road area was taken to hospital and treated for a single stab wound, also to her abdomen. Police say they do not know if anything was stolen in the incident.
Around five minutes later, a teenage boy was reportedly threatened with a knife and had his bike stolen at Deepdale Retail Park.
Police are treating the three incidents as being linked at this stage.
Mohammed Irfan, chairman of Deepdale Community Association, says he would have liked to see police notifying the community of the attacks sooner so that members of the public could be warned of the threat.
“We are in shock and disbelief that this happened so close to us on a day where families were out doing their shopping,” he said.
“We had one incident at 3.45pm and a second incident two hours later. During that period people went on with their daily activities. It was quite a long time. The incidents were in a small area.
“We need better communication channels in the community. We could have alerted people. Safety is important. We found out about it from social media.
“It would have been better if something had come out earlier from the police - even after the first incident.
“We could have warned people - especially around Sainsbury’s where there is a tuition class with children as young as four.
“We want a stronger police presence in Deepdale, especially at weekends because it’s a commercial area.”
MP for Preston, Sir Mark Hendrick said he was shocked at the stabbings but he was confident the police had the situation in hand.
He said: “I have been in contact with the police. They feel they have got the situation contained. They made an arrest and at this stage the view is that the incidents were connected. They have got somebody in custody.
“Where in the past it’s been about gangs the impression I’m getting with these incidents is that this is different. From the evidence that is there at the moment it’s not gang-related.
“We have got a very good police force. They are doing their best under difficult circumstances.
“They are doing their best to get anybody involved with this to bring them to justice.
“My heart goes out to everyone who’s been affected.”
Karl Lawton, 30, who works at Sainsbury’s says that he thinks CCTV cameras and better lighting are what is needed for the area to deter such attacks.
He said: “There needs to be CCTV camera on the hill going down to Sainsbury’s.
“Also the back of Sainsbury’s, Manor House Lane is pitch black. They need lighting there. I used to live down there and see older people walking their dogs early in the morning. There’s no lighting whatsoever. It’s ridiculous. They need CCTV cameras.
“On Sunday night I finished work at 8pm and police had cordoned off Sainsbury’s hill at the top and bottom.
“All the teenagers now who’ve got knives and guns are 12 to 15 years old.
“The police can’t stop it, there’s just too much of it now.”
Zoe Warburton, 29, was out at Deepdale Retail Park on Monday morning with her 18-month-old daughter Amelia. She says she still feels safe out and about.
“It’s quite a shock but I’ve still come out this morning,” she said. “I do kind of worry for what’s going to happen in the future, knowing that kids are carrying knives around.
“You expect it in Preston but not in Deepdale.”
But Jacqueline Carter from Fulwood who was out shopping with her husband Melvin said she felt that the violence was getting closer to home.
She said: “It’s getting a bit frightening. Anybody could have been on Sainsbury’s and you don’t expect that kind of situation. We go to Sainsbury’s.
“With it happening on Blackpool Road you feel it’s getting closer.”
Angela and James Cornthwaite from Fulwood both feel that the punishment for crime is too lenient.
“The problem is they are too soft,” said Angela. “They just put them in jail for three months, it’s ridiculous. People need to be treated as they treat others.”
‘We need to rethink our process of dealing with knife crime’
The incidents come just days after startling figures showed 1,102 specific knife crimes were recorded in Lancashire in the 12 months up to September - and these do not include less serious crimes such as possession of a knife in public, or affray.
It includes six murders, 15 attempted murders and 677 assaults that either led to an injury or where the person had intent to cause serious harm.
A further 268 were knifepoint robberies, and 22 others were rapes or sexual assaults which involved a blade.
By comparison there were 674 of these categories of crime in 2010 to 2011.
In August 2014, Preston Jonjo Highton, 18, was murdered in the street.
He suffered a lethal wound to the neck caused by a blade, and had also sustained several other wounds to his face and body.
Several men are serving lengthy jail terms for their role in his brutal death.
His brother Byron works for Manchester-based charity the Safety Guide Foundation, which goes into schools and educates children about the dangers of carrying knives.
Reacting to the figures today he said prison life needed to be tougher to act as a deterrent to offenders.
He said: “The rise is totally shocking, but how can the numbers not increase when we still live in a broken society with no fear of punishment?
“We need to rethink our entire process of dealing with offenders of knife crime.
“They go to prison and have a TV, Playstation and access to drugs and more. This is not punishment for taking a life.”
His views are echoed by a man who was stabbed inches from his heart outside a pub in Bamber Bridge
The victim went outside to tell a group of men to leave his friend alone, after they had been causing problems, and was attacked.
The blow went an inch into his chest and punctured his lung.
The victim, who doesn’t wish to be named, was appalled when the attacker, who had committed other crimes, was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2013, with just two years of that relating to the stabbing. He was released in 2016.
The man was initially charged with wounding with intent, which could have carried a higher sentence, but it was dropped to a simple wounding charge during the proceedings.
He said: “ Nothing has been learnt. It’s getting even worse and absolutely nothing is getting done about it hence the reason it’s happening more.
“ I know full well the guy who stabbed me is still carrying a knife to this day.
In total there were 153,309 crimes recorded in Lancashire.
‘Please get in touch‘
On Sunday Inspector Phil Orme of Preston Police, said: “These are very serious incidents where violence or threats of violence have been used.
“The incidents have been confined to a small geographic area and have been very similar in nature. At this stage, we believe they are linked.
“While we have made an arrest, our enquiries are very much ongoing.
“If you witnessed any of these crimes taking place or have any information at all that could help, please
get in touch as soon as possible.”
Anyone with information should call 101 quoting log number 1152 of January 26.