Reporter: Stuart Littleford
A meeting of local business owners and police took place this week at the White Hart restaurant in Lydgate to discuss the recent rise in burglaries in the area.
The meeting on Monday night attracted around 200 people and included local residents, business owners and police.
The meeting was organised by Jo Fern, of Jo Ferns Salons, after her Lydgate premises were recently broken into along with a number of other local businesses.
Jo Fern told Saddleworth News: “The meeting was very well attended and we had a large number of local residents there as well, we all agreed that the crime issue can only be solved by everyone working together and looking out for each other.
“The police are suffering from severe cutbacks and we all need to be helping them the best we can.
“This is just the start now and we hope to have more meetings and discussions quite soon.”
Greater Manchester Police who attended the meeting said they would be “making significant changes to police patrols in the area” and were working hard to tackle the issues.
It was also recommended that a ‘Business Watch Scheme’ should be set up in the area as these have proved very useful in other parts of the country.
Similar schemes in other areas involve the use of two way radio communications to alert shops and business of suspicious activity, these have proven very successful and helped to reduce local crime. It was also suggested that a dedicated website could be created to provide information and updates on incidents.
Saddleworth News has since been told by some of those attending the meeting that they were “disappointed and surprised” at the lack of local councillors in attendance.
Debbie Abrahams MP raised the Saddleworth crime issue in Westminster last week in a debate about recent police cutbacks.
Police have also told us they are “investigating a number of lines of enquiry” over the burglaries and are confident that they are making good progress in an effort to trace and arrest the offenders.