LOCAL residents have described the terrifying moment a man was seen swinging what was believed to have been an axe on a Wigan street yesterday.
Police were called to Enfield Street in Pemberton, close to its junction with Ormskirk Road, at 8.47am on Monday after a man was seen hitting traffic bollards with the object.
A GMP spokesman later told how a number of 999 calls were made from “distressed” members of the public.
Armed officers dashed to Enfield Street with police dogs and began a manhunt for the suspect, who was said to be wearing a “colourful, stripy hat”.
Nearby Highfield St Matthews primary school was put on lockdown with parents told that the school was “operating normally” despite the incident.
They sent a text out to parents saying: “After an incident on Enfield Street this am, we ensured a lockdown of school as a safety measure. Police have now resolved the situation. School operating normally.”
Wondered what all the police were about, my five-year-old grandaughter’s school in lockdown, unbelievable and scary, we’re in Wigan not AmericaPatricia Sloan
At this point, the search was still ongoing and police moved to nearby Howard Street where a 28-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of affray.
Officers were seen storming a property via the fire escape before detaining him.
A police spokesman said: “We were called just before 8.50am to reports of a man with an an axe near Lidl supermarket on the junction of Enfield Street.
“He was seen hitting objects but there are no reports of anyone being injured although a number of people who called us were quite distressed.”
Local residents described the scene as “mayhem” with police sealing off Enfield Street as they carried out their inquiries.
One, who asked not to be named, told the Evening Post: “I didn’t see the man but soon heard about what had happened.
“I just saw loads of police cars turning up and closing off the street; it was mayhem.
“One of my neighbours told me that someone was going around with an axe. Fair play to the police for sorting it out so quickly.”
Another added: “My brother saw him and said he was just hitting random objects.
“It’s not something you expect to see at all, let alone at that time of day with some many people walking around!
“I’m just glad everybody is safe really and that he receives any help he needs.
“Everyone around here was on edge when it was all going on. It’s been a really strange day.”
Wendy Williams wrote on the Wigan Today Facebook page saying: “He walked past my mate with the axe swinging it about everywhere saying someone’s going to die!”
Patricia Sloan Johnson wrote: “Wondered what all the police were about, my five-year-old grandaughter’s school in lockdown, unbelievable and scary, we’re in Wigan not America.”
In the aftermath of the arrest, officers were seen carrying various items away from the property on Howard Street.
These included a stripy hat and also a garden lawn edger, suggesting that it may not have been an axe that the man was carrying.
However, this wasn’t confirmed by police in any of their official statements.