Wigan: Schoolgirls harassed by asylum seekers from nearby hotel.


From Wigan Today

Several parents from the Standish area have told wigantoday that they are stopping their daughters from going out because groups of men have allegedly been filming their PE lessons at the local high school, winking and passing comments at them in the street and, in one instance, surrounding a 12-year-old and filming her.

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy said she was appalled that the Britannia Hotel in Standish was being used to accommodate vulnerable asylum-seekers again, several years after both the Home Office and services operator Serco accepted that it was completely unsuitable for the purpose, and had done so with no notice or consultation with the police, council, herself or the local community. 

She’s of Indian heritage, in case you were wondering. Dad is a famous Marxist academic who considers his left-leaning daughter to be a right-winger. It takes all sorts.

“Across Greater Manchester leaders, public health officials and charities have been working together to plan a warm and suitable welcome for Afghan refugee families. Instead here we have the same chaos led by Serco.” Except these are not families are they? I’d say 95% of these “asylum seekers” whether they came out by RAF flight from Kabul or across to Kent on a dinghey are fit young men of military age. 

Vikki Boyle said her daughter and many other girls in the Standish area are staying home rather than going to the park, shops or anywhere else on foot because of this incident and others in which young girls have received unwanted attention from strangers.

Some of the same men have been spotted watching girls taking part in sporting activities at Standish High School and bothering pupils outside the school gates at going-home time, prompting the school to put out a “stranger danger” warning and there has been high profile policing outside the school in recent weeks.

Her daughter, whom we are not naming, was not approached at school or at going-home time, but at 8pm on the popular walkway called The Line. The incident happened on September 7 and this week the police concluded that no offence was committed.

But Vikki and her family are far from happy. She said: “The police say that they may not have been filming her and may may not have been trying to grab her or touch her. But she was left terrified. . . we’ve been keeping our daughters in all summer holiday because of these men who are hanging around in Standish and at the school. That evening she persuaded us to let her go to Aldi with a friend. They were on their way back and then the friend pealed off to go home leaving our daughter to make the last bit of the trip home on her own.

“She was coming down The Line when she saw around 10 men standing in a row, all looking at her. She got in a panic and did not know what to do.  …one of them started filming her with his phone. He said ‘stop!’ and they circled round her so she could not get away. They said ‘come with us’ and she started crying.

“Then she spotted a man she knew by sight – now we know he is called Ross Pilkington because he had become a bit of a local hero because of all this – and she managed to duck between two of the men and run towards Ross who was with his little boy and dog and they escorted her home. . . We rang the police straight away. Our daughter was sure she could identify five out of 10 of them. 

They seem to have a particular interest in girls. The most stunning mum could be walking down the street but it’s their school-aged daughters they are winking at or trying to beckon away.

“Our daughter now is terrified to go anywhere other than school and back. And it’s not that reassuring there when these guys are watching girls doing their PE through the fencing.

“Something needs to be done about these men. They need educating as to how they should behave. My husband was all for going round and thumping one of them, but that’s not the answer. He would then be the one getting arrested. If nothing is done to tackle the problem then there is a danger of the public taking things into their own hands. And that’s wrong. It’s vigilantism.” She is right about one thing; her husband would indeed be the one arrested. 

One mum said: “The behaviour of a small number of men from the Britannia Hotel has been causing a lot of upset. They clearly need educating. If you flee from your own country and want to be accepted in a new one, then you need to learn the new country’s ways. The last thing we want is all the right-wing thugs using this as an excuse to bring their toxic messages to Wigan again and whipping up racism.”  No lady, the last thing you want is your 12 year old daughter raped by a gang and pregnant. Wake up. 

A Wigan Council spokesperson said: “We are working closely with our colleagues at GMP to ensure any reported concerns are considered and responded to in the most appropriate manner, and also to coordinate offers of help and support for the asylum seekers whilst they are in our borough. .. If residents do have any concerns or believe that a crime has been committed, we continue to strongly advise them to report any such incidents to Greater Manchester Police.”

 …a spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police said “The local Neighbourhood Police Team has investigated this report and conducted several reassurance visits with the family, and it has been established that no offences have been committed. . . The incident has been closed.”

“To help address these issues and reassure those residing in the area, we have increased the number of officers who are out and about on patrol. So, if you do have any concerns, please approach our officers and let them know.” 

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