LIBERAL Democrat and Conservative councillors at Warrington have reached an agreement to form a partnership to wrest control of the borough council from Labour, who have been in power for nearly 25 years. Full details tomorrow.
Gang of youths
on the rampage
by John Hendon
POLICE at Warrington are hunting a gang of thugs believed responsible for a series of assaults, robberies and acts of vandalism over a half-hour period.
A group of about five youths ran amok in Sankey Valley Park and at Europa Boulevard.
Various estimates of their age have been given by victims ? but police believe some of the offenders could be as young as 13.
The first offence took place in Sankey Valley Park where two men, aged 22 and 36, were fishing.
A gang of five youths attacked them with sticks and bricks causing injuries which led to both victims requiring hospital treatment. Both men had their bicycles and fishing equipment stolen.
One of the attackers was described as 17-18 and wearing a dark blue hat, blue jumper and similar coloured trousers. Another was aged about 13, 5ft 2 inches tall and wearing a grey top and a third wore a red coat.
A short time later, the same gang attacked a P-registered Ford Escort at Europa Boulevard, smashing the vehicle with sticks and bricks. One offender was described as 5ft 8 inches tall, of skinny build wearing a blue and white baseball cap and a wooded top.
Another was about 5ft 7 inches, also skinny and was wearing a dark coloured track suit.
Some time later a lone man was riding a bicycle in Sankey Valley Park when he was approached by the gang. He was attacked and had his mobile phone snatched. He fled the scene, leaving his BMX bike which was stolen.
Police believe all three incidents were linked and are seeking information from anyone who may have seen any of the offences. Anyone who can help can call 01925 652222.
Talks continue to resolve
“hung” council problem
by David Skentelbery
TALKS to try and resolve the problems facing Warrington?s ?hung? council are continuing ? with both Labour and Liberal Democrats wooing the six-strong Conservative group for their support.
A decision had been expected yesterday (Tuesday) but the three parties failed reach an agreement.
Now the Tory group is expecting to make an announcement today.
Group leader Coun Keith Bland said: ?Things have taken a bit longer than we expected but we are definitely expecting to be able to make an announcement today.?
The difficulties arise from the composition of the council following last week?s elections.
Labour are still the largest group with 26 members. But the Liberal Democrats have 25.
Either party could control the council with the support of the Tories.
All three parties have pledged that whatever decision is reached will be done in the best interests of the borough and its residents.
Coun Bland said: ?It is a difficult situation but we have to form an administration for the good of the borough and its residents. We need stability. The well-being of the borough comes before party politics and hopefully we are all adult enough to reach an agreement.
?I have worked in a hung council situation before and it can work very well.?
Meanwhile, the Labour group have released details of its new leadership team ? already revealed by Warrington-Worldwide yesterday.
New leader is Coun Terry O?Neill and new deputy leader is Coun Mike Hannon.
Outgoing leader Coun John Joyce said: ?I have enjoyed the last few years as leader of the Labour Group and the council but the time was now right for a new leadership team. I am delighted for Terry and Mike who have both been a great help to me in my time as leader and I will give them my full support for the future challenges we face in the town.?
Coun O?Neill said: ?I am delighted to have received the support and trust of my fellow Labour councillors. I also want to extend my great thanks and appreciation to all our candidates and members who campaigned tirelessly for the local elections. The results were disappointing. We lost many excellent councillors who served their local communities with distinction. We did hold many seats and we had good results in Latchford East, Fairfield and Howley, Birchwood and in Rixton and Woolston. I am pleased that Labour remains the largest party and as a group we are determined to ensure that our vision of a better Warrington is progressed.?
Coun Hannon added: ?We will not compromise Labour?s core principles. We have a very talented group of Labour councillors who will be ensuring that our programme for better schools, clean streets and measures to tackle crime are at the forefront of Labour?s vision for Warrington.?
400 in protest over
all-night pop festival
by Lesley Wilkinson
MORE than 400 angry residents from five villages have united in protest against the all-night music festival Creamfields planned for the Daresbury Estate on August 26/27.
They have written an open letter to land-owner Lord Daresbury to say they are “disappointed and saddened” by the lack of consideration he has shown to people in surrounding areas.
People from Walton, Hatton, Appleton, Moore and Daresbury formed a committee to co-ordinate objections to the licence application submitted to Halton Borough Council by event manager Jim King.
One of the residents Peter Priestner said: “The residents committee will assist everyone within the mile and a half representation zone in formulating their objections.
“It is understood that none of the five parish councils in the area can submit an objection to the licence application, which is why the residents committee has been formed,” he added.
In their letter to Lord Daresbury residents said: “We will have to endure 15 hours, from 3pm on Saturday until 6am on Sunday, of extremely intense ear-splitting noise” They add: “We are further disturbed over the security outlined in the Creamfields information pack. The provisions made are woefully inadequate and we fear for the safety of our homes.”
Residents say they have supported previous events on the estate, such as Warrington Horse Show and the Hatton Show, but that the current event is of no benefit to the community.
“We feel we are being subjected to a totally unreasonable intrusion into our lives and surroundings,” the letter said.
Walton Parish Council is holding a special meeting on Monday May 22 to discuss its response to the application.
Mr Priestner said: “Although the council meeting on the 22 is welcomed and may well encourage those that have not objected to do so in the nine days remaining, it would have been more helpful if the council had previously discussed the original proposals, instead of waiting for the licence application, and reflected the weight of opposition to the concert in principle.”
chief’s China trip
A RESEARCH trip to China to look at ways of tackling counterfeiting provided a valuable insight into the problem for Warrington Trading Standards chief Peter Astley.
He was one of four EU experts who spoke to senior police officers from various parts of China on techniques for dealing with counterfeiters.
Mr Astley advised police, at conferences in Guangzhou and Beijing, on strategies to address the growing problem of counterfeiting. He was also able to pick up tips from other countries on tackling the problem.
“This was an ideal opportunity to promote the excellent work that is carried out in Warrington on a daily basis and share best practice,” he said.
“The trip gave me a fascinating insight into how other countries deal with the issues surrounding counterfeiting and look at the work they do to help combat the problem.?
During his visit Mr Astley also carried out a review of anti-counterfeiting enforcement for the British Consulate in Guangzhou. This will mean better protection for Br
itish business operating in China.
at cash machine
by David Skentelbery
A 40-year-old man fought off a mugger who attacked him as he was withdrawing money from a cash machine at the Tesco petrol station in Winwick Road, Warrington.
The thug eventually fled empty handed even though he knocked the victim to the ground during the struggle.
Police have issued a warning to the public to remain vigilant while using cash machines and are seeking witnesses of the incident.
The victim was attacked from behind as he withdrew his money. He was knocked to the ground but fought back, managed to hang on to the cash and eventually put the offender to flight.
The mugger is described as being in his teens, about 6ft tall, skinny and wearing a hooded top and a scarf to cover his face.
Police are asked to call DC Mark McManus on 01244 614893.
Two women beaten
up in town centre
by staff reporter
A MAN and two women were beaten up as they walked home at Warrington in the early hours of the morning.
Both women were punched in the face and the man accompanying them was knocked to the ground and kicked.
Two men who came to their assistance were also attacked by the two offenders.
The attack took place in Winwick Street, Warrington, close to Central Station.
One of the women suffered swelling to her face and a loose tooth. The other was punched on the nose.
Police said the attackers were both aged 25-30. One was of mixed race, about 6ft tall of medium build with black, curly hair and a moustache. The second man was about 6ft 2 inches tall, of heavy build and with mousy coloured hair.
by staff reporter
A 40-year-old man was led to safety by firefighters after an arson attack on flats in Toll Bar Road, Orford, Warrington.
The blaze was discovered at 2am today and involved a mattress on a first floor landing.
Dense smoke filled the building and fire crews wore breathing apparatus to lead the man to safety.
A Fire Service spokesman said: “Someone had set fire to the mattress. The man was not overcome by smoke but was trapped in his flat by the smoke.”
Police are investigating.
In a separate incident, arsonists set fire to a 4×4 vehicle parked outside a children’s nursery in Gresford Close, Callands, Warrington.