Community comes together to help tackle crime spree

A DETERMINED community is fighting back after a recent crime wave blighted village life.

Residents in Diggle are the latest to join forces with other groups across Saddleworth to deter criminals causing misery and damage throughout the area.

Around 50 locals attended a meeting at Diggle Band Club to launch a neighbourhood crime watch group.

Lee Hudson and Gail Holland, Greenfield Crime Watch group; Paul Gilbert from Denshaw group; and Mark Brooks, chairman of Diggle Community Association

They were joined by Saddleworth neighbourhood officers, PC Stuart Bielawski and PCSO Mike Lowther plus members of previously formed groups in Denshaw, Dobcross and primarily Greenfield where the initiative started in November 2017. 

A car-jacking involving a lone female by two assailants on January 28 was the highest profile of a series of unwanted incidents.

The woman, who suffered minor injuries but did not require hospital treatment, had stepped out of a white BMW on Huddersfield Road when she was forced to the ground. 

Her car keys were taken and the vehicle driven off in the direction of Uppermill. 

Mark Brooks, chair of Diggle Community Association (DCA), told the meeting: “Unfortunately, Diggle has been singled out repeatedly over the last few months.

“So, as the DCA, we really wanted to do something about it. 

“We wanted the friends of Diggle to come together, to stand tall and look the people who commit crime in the eye and say, ‘No, not here’.”

Lee Hudson, one of the founders of Greenfield Neighbourhood Crime Watch group, told the meeting: “We have done work round Greenfield trying to deter crime and work with the police to reduce crime.

“Crime in Diggle especially had risen over 400 per cent last year. 

“Some of this crime was very serious: burglaries, thefts, attacks and a car-jacking.

“It was quite clear to me I felt a duty to get involved with other villages to share what we have done in Greenfield.

“I am not saying the scheme will work for everyone but we have had some successes.

“It does not have to be identical to how it works in Greenfield but we need to work together and support the police.

“If we create a similar group in Diggle then eventually we can get Grasscroft, Uppermill and Delph in the same scheme. 

“With the police and Oldham Home Watch Association we become a close-knit group of one community that stands together against crime.”

Addressing residents, PC Bielawski, said Saddleworth’s crime fighting force had been beefed up in recent months with new additions to the team.

“There is a full team in Saddleworth which we haven’t had for a while. You will see us knocking about a lot more.

“In the last month we have had six burglaries across the whole of Saddleworth. That is because of the work we are doing. It is high profile policing,” added PC Bielawski.

The new group will be on the agenda when DCA holds its annual general meeting on Tuesday, March 31.

“DCA tries really hard to make the village a better place for everyone,” added Mr Brooks.

“Now, we can do something to make a difference for Diggle, to our neighbours and the people we care about.” 

• For more details on how to join the new neighbourhood watch scheme email: dcachairman@gmail.com

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