Ringleaders in our sights, say police fighting South Ribble knife incidents

Police responding to the Penwortham incident
Police responding to the Penwortham incident
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Police are targeting the ringleaders behind a recent outbreak of gang violence in and around the Preston area, a police chief told a meeting.

Chief Inspector Gary Crowe was addressing Penwortham Town Council, where councillors and members of the public gathered to hear what steps police were taking in the wake of disturbing incidents involving youths with knives and other weapons.

Chief Insp Crowe said a multi-agency plan was under way to identify and deal with people known or suspected to be at the heart of recent incidents.

And he assured residents that South Ribble was a safe place to live despite gang-related problems in Leyland and Penwortham.

Worrying confrontations between gangs of mainly teenagers are thought to be fuelled by long-running disputes and organised and encouraged via social media.

Chief Insp Crowe said a recent incident at Runshaw College – in which masked men were filmed having a standoff – appeared to result from a feud between two people.

Another incident in the Liverpool Road area of Penwortham last week seemed to stem from a long-running feud between two gangs.

He said they were basically “isolated incidents” but the images and weapons seen had brought the need for more action.

He said a meeting had been held with education and social services staff and a further one was scheduled. He said that would be more “intelligence based.”

Chief Insp Crowe, pictured, said : “There are names that we know but don’t know all the links. We want to discover who the ringleaders are.

“Who are the ones that are influencing others?”

He told councillors and residents: “South Ribble is still a really safe place to live. What has happened recently has heightened the public fear of knife crime.”