Mindless vandals caused disruption across Halton and Warrington last night, Wednesday 30 October, resulting in more than 80 reports of anti-social behaviour and criminal damage across the north of the county.
A number of additional police officers had been deployed to hot spot areas as part of an ongoing operation to tackle anti-social behaviour over the Hallowe’en and bonfire period.
Despite this, a small number of thoughtless individuals were intent on damaging properties and vehicles.
In total, police officers responded to 30 incidents in Widnes, 22 incidents in Runcorn and 29 incidents in Warrington.
These included a number of vehicles damaged, including one being tipped on its side and one that was damaged by a firework, a number of buses damaged by stones, and two police cars were also damaged – resulting in them being taken off the road for the rest of the night.
Police officers and firefighters also dealt with a number of nuisance fires which involved fires in children’s play areas, wheelie bin fires and a small fire on a boat in Warrington.
Chief Superintendent Bill Dutton said: “Damaging property and vehicles is simply unacceptable behaviour and is extremely distressing to the victims. Furthermore, it has much wider implications for the local community.
“We had an increased officer presence out on the streets making sure crime and anti-social behaviour was kept to a minimum and members of the public felt safe, but despite our best efforts there were still a minority of people intent on causing mindless vandalism and causing disruption within their communities.
“A number of police cars were damaged, so much so that they had to be taken off the road for the rest of the night. While a smashed windscreen might not sound like a serious crime, damage such as this has a number of knock on implications. Not only were there less police cars on the streets, but it also meant that officers were tied up dealing with the criminal damage - when they could have been responding to real emergencies.
Increased police patrols will continue in those areas affected throughout this week and into the weekend.
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Deliberate Fire Reduction Manager, Andy Gray, said: “People might see starting a small bonfire or setting off fireworks as a bit of harmless fun, but fire is extremely unpredictable and can easily get out of control and spread – and tragic accidents can happen with fireworks. While firefighters are out dealing with nuisance fires, they are not in the best position to respond to genuine emergencies.
“We will continue to monitor high activity areas throughout the Hallowe’en and Bonfire period, and we are encouraging the public to support us in reducing deliberate fires by ensuring wheelie bins and rubbish are not left out in the open - once your bin has been emptied please ensure you put it away securely.”
Anyone with more information in relation to any of the incidents that took place last night contact Cheshire Police on 101. Alternatively information can be passed on anonymously, via Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.