Fair bit of trouble

Leyland fairground - Silcock's
Leyland fairground - Silcock's
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Troublemakers who descended on a Leyland fairground left residents fearful of leaving their own homes.

JE Silcock Amusements has just held a 10-day Great American Theme Park at the former Leyland Bus depot, off Golden Hill Lane.

Because the fair was held on private land, the authorities couldn’t influence the closing time, and there were reports of problems.

One 24-year-old mum, who lives nearby and asked not to be named, said there were gangs of youths walking about.

She said: “There must have been three groups of at least 10 people hanging around the area.

“They had just been to the funfair and were waiting to get into Morrisons because the staff would only let them in one at a time. My husband and I took our children to the fairground and we felt intimidated by the youths.

“They were walking past in large groups of boys and girls, and you just don’t know what could happen, or if they would turn on you.A few days ago, I stood in the front room and saw at least three lads outside.

“Suddenly I heard police sirens and they all ran off in different directions. I know that the police have been patrolling the area, and I counted at least a dozen cars driving around.”

She said a bus shelter on Wheelton Lane was smashed up, but she doesn’t know if was connected to the fair.

Supt Richard Robertshaw, of Leyland Police, confirmed there had been problems.

He said: “I’m very happy that the fair comes to Leyland and normally runs smoothly.

“The difficulty is that when it’s on council land, like West Paddock, we are involved in negotiations with the council and Mr Silcock over the closing hours and any restrictions that are necessary.

“It’s unfortunate that because Mr Silcock sited the fair on private land, neither the police or council could influence the closing times for the fair.

“It’s regrettable that when the fair closes later, it does act as a magnet for local troublemakers, and required a significant policing operation, which we hadn’t planned for because we didn’t have any advance notification.”

The owner of the funfair, John Edward Silcock, claimed the fair itself was virtually incident-free.

He said: “We had security on the site and they took alcohol and bikes off people if they were coming onto the fairground.

“I think the police were concerned about a handful of lads who were hanging around.”

Mr Silcock said they had decided to move the fair from its normal location of West Paddock during the summer months, because of problems with flooding.

He said: “We were better off with the hard-standing land at the bus depot.

David Taylor, who helped stage the event, branded Leyland as the ‘least friendly town’ they’ve been to and said they won’t be coming back.

Martin Ainscough owns the former Leyland Bus factory site.

He said: “We were app-roached a few weeks ago by JE Silcock’s organisation about renting a piece of land on the former Leyland Bus depot.

“We believe there were a few issues on the site and the police were down there but I don’t know what it was all about.

“They are responsible for sorting out the rules and regulations including health and safety and planning permission.

“We just rent the land out to them. It is on a short-term licence and they were only on there until Sunday.”