SHOPKEEPERS have come together to call for more support following a spate of anti-social behaviour incidents in Farnworth town centre.

Muhammed Asif – who owns Bargain Masters in the precinct – said that anti-social behaviour and shop lifting has been part of an ongoing problem in the area since 2014.

Muhammed has increased the security cameras outside but said that they will "just be broken again".

This has led to some shop workers in the precinct fearful to come to work, he says.

Muhammed added: “This is our livelihood, and nothing is being done.

“Teenagers have been aggressive and abusive, throwing things at the window, and climbing down from the roof.

“Something needs to be done before it gets really out of hand.

“We are dealing with the same issues all the time in a lot of the shops.”

Muhammed wants to feel as though it is being dealt with by the police and said he would like to see more visibility from police, or community support officers.

Manager of Zam Zam News, Ahmed Shafiq said that a couple of months ago kids broke the news box outside, and that they would break in and steal something every day.

Ahmed also had to fix a broken roof, when kids climbed up and broke the tiles.

He says that this has had a negative impact on businesses, on top of them already being affected by Covid.

He added: “It’s very bad because people aren’t coming as much.

“People are going on to the roof and breaking the tiles.

“The last time police caught them, but I don’t know what happened after that.

“Security officers always come and help.

“We are the only two independent shops, and we can’t afford it if they take anything or damage something.”

Ahmed has said that more conversations should be had between the children, parents, and authorities.

Inspector Helen Atherton, of Greater Manchester Police's Bolton division, said: “We are aware of the recent incidents of antisocial behaviour in the Farnworth area, that are affecting retailers in particular.

"It is not acceptable for anyone to have to face abuse and incidents of crime while simply trying to do their job, and I would like to make it clear that it will not be tolerated by GMP.

“We are committed to supporting and working with local retailers to reduce the number of incidents of crime, by making reporting easier, providing high visibility patrols and listening to what concerns our community has.

"Local officers have also been engaging with young people in the area to signpost them to positive activities in the area.

“As a force, we support the national #ShopKind campaign, which aims to encourage the recognition of the essential role shop workers have and urge the public to be respectful of them at all times.”

Farnworth Cllr Paul Sanders said: “It’s so frustrating that our traders and businesses are facing such shameful criminal behaviour.

“Councillors have regular conversations with the Neighbourhood Policing Team and stress the worries and concerns we all have.

“Assurances have been given by the police that patrols have been increased and investigations carried out promptly following any reporting to the police.

“Farnworth Town Centre and the majority of businesses are covered by CCTV.”