Angry traders and shoppers in a Wolverhampton village are demanding a greater police presence on its High Street – after a huge surge in terrifying violent attacks and intimidating anti-social behaviour in the last few months.
Wednesfield residents say they are becoming more and more fearful of venturing into the centre of the village following a number of recent incidents, including a stabbing attack on a young girl just last week.
There have also been growing reports of gangs of youths descending on the High Street and ‘terrorising’ innocent shoppers and traders, who are now desperately appealing for more regular police patrols in the area.
Local shop owner Max McEvoy, who last year set up the Village Alliance – a forum dedicated to trade, social and political issues in and around the village – said: “Every decent person who lives, works, shops and socialises in Wednesfield is crying out for a greater police presence.
“We need it so very, very badly, especially with the escalation of violent attacks and intimidating behaviour that has been going on in recent months.
“This is what happened to us just recently on the High Street – a group of seven or eight youths descended upon us and caused mayhem.
“After talking to people in various shops, I have accounts of two actual physical assaults, various shops being vandalised in a big way, shoppers being intimidated and abused and also the theft of merchandise.
“Two of our biggest and most important shops, Greggs and Savers, came under substantial attack with displays being knocked over, stuff being thrown all over the floor and shoppers being terrorised.
“One elderly gent was hurled to the ground, a lady was punched in the face and another elderly woman had her zimmer frame taken. It’s simply appalling.
“The police were called and the response was quick. However, it was just one female officer on her own, and she said all she could do was talk to them.
“Sending one PC to deal with seven or eight violent young men is unacceptable. And I don’t understand how – with all the accounts and evidence of assaults, theft, criminal damage and intimidation – nothing more was done,” he added.
“At a recent Police and Communities Together (PACT) meeting I asked for increased police patrols – both day and night – on the main street and behind our shops and businesses as well.
“If what happened recently in the High Street is not pure justification, I don’t know what is. And the sad thing is, this was just one of many incidents that we have had to put up with recently.
“Businesses here have enough problems as it is. Many are just surviving and this constant anti-social behaviour and violent intimidation is just making things worse.”
Councillor Greg Brackenridge (Lab. Wednesfield South) said: “This sort of disgraceful behaviour is totally unacceptable.
“Local police are aware and investigations are ongoing. I would urge anyone who witnessed any of this to report it to police on 101 or call Crimestoppers confidentially on 0800 555111.
“I am holding ongoing meetings with traders and residents and will keep pressing the issue.”
A spokesman for West Midlands Police said they were aware of the ongoing problems being faced by traders and shoppers, and said the force would do everything within its power to monitor the situation further and increase police profile along the High Street.