Parents of school children in a village north of Wigan have revealed they are keeping their daughters inside due to concern at the behaviour of a number of asylum seekers currently being housed in a nearby hotel.
Standish Community High School had received reports last week of adult males – believed to be from the Britannia Hotel in the village – lingering outside the school’s gates and “acting suspiciously”. The school sent out a mass text message to all parents titled “Stranger Danger Alert” in which they advised parents not to allow their children to travel alone, suggesting they walk to school in groups and do not engage with any strangers who attempt to approach them.
Local media outlet Wigan Today reported that groups of men had been allegedly filming PE lessons from outside the school’s perimeter and there had been instances of grown men winking at and talking to school girls including one incident where a 12-year-old was surrounded and filmed by the men.
“As a parent, I’m worried. They are standing at the gates,” one parent told Manchester Evening News.
“One girl was approached outside Lidl. They surrounded her and a member of the public had to take her home.
“This has been going on since July. Police are now patrolling near the school now, but that should not even be needed.”
Whilst another told Wigan Today that “the behaviour of a small number of men from the Britannia Hotel has been causing a lot of upset.
“They clearly need educating. If you flee from your own country and want to be accepted in a new one, then you need to learn the new country’s ways.”
“My daughters are being taken to school and back and are going nowhere else on foot at the moment because I don’t feel it’s safe,” another told the site.
“The behaviour is borderline legal-illegal so people aren’t being arrested but the worry is that this could escalate if it’s allowed to continue,” they added.
Wigan’s MP Lisa Nandy insisted that she had been in touch with concerned parents and the authorities over the concerning behaviour.
The mother of the 12-year-old girl spoke about how the incident left her daughter “terrified” when she was surrounded by around 10 males on her way home.
“One of them started filming her with his phone. He said ‘stop!’ and they circled round her so she could not get away. They said ‘come with us’ and she started crying,” the mum told reporters.
“Then she spotted a man she knew by sight – now we know he is called Ross Pilkington because he had become a bit of a local hero because of all this – and she managed to duck between two of the men and run towards Ross who was with his little boy and dog and they escorted her home.
“Some of them are quite familiar round here. They seem to have a particular interest in girls. The most stunning mum could be walking down the street but it’s their school-aged daughters they are winking at or trying to beckon away.”