Crimebusters out for bonfire night

Insp Steve Evans
Insp Steve Evans
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Leyland police will be out in force this bonfire night, as the annual event has proven a magnet for trouble in the past.

A big operation has been launched to make sure there are plenty of staff patrolling the streets this year, as the main attraction takes place on Worden Park on Monday night.

Inspector Steve Evans said: “The event at Worden Park is a genuine, family fun event, and there are never any issues on the actual park.

“But there’s usually a problem with youths congregating round the town afterwards.”

Last year, youngsters started letting off fireworks near the Tesco store on Towngate, and the supermarket was forced to close early.

The problems then moved towards McDonalds in Churchill Way, and five people were arrested on the night.

Now, in a bid to prevent a repeat performance on November 5 this year, South Ribble’s police force is increasing its visibility around the town.

There will be 30 police officers, four horses, one police dog and a support unit in a van patrolling Worden Park and Worden Lane, the Tesco and Leyland Cross area, North Lodge, Langdale Road, Wade Hall, the Broadfield estate and the town centre.

Insp Evans added: “We just want to make sure it’s a safe, enjoyable night for everyone, and that no individuals spoil the event.

“We’re not anticipating any particular trouble, but because there have been issues in Leyland in the past, we just want to make sure we have plenty of staff on ready to deal with any issues which do crop up.”

The annual bonfire and firework display is organised by the Leyland Round Table, and chairman Paul Morgan said: “We’re very grateful to the police for their help and support in and around the park.

“We couldn’t arrange an event as big as this without them.”

He added that ticket sales are going well, and that the night promises to have a great turn-out.

The bonfire, which will be on the field near the duck pond, will be lit at 6.30pm, with the £6,000 firework display starting at 7.45pm.

There will also be a fun fair on the main car park, and food stalls, featuring sweets and non-alcoholic mulled wine.

Worden Lane will be closed from 5pm until about midnight, and parking is available at nearby Runshaw College.

Tickets can be bought in advance from a number of schools and independent shops in the town centre.

They cost £3 in advance or £5 on the night, and children under five can enter the park for free.

Gates open at 6pm.