By Ellen Conlon
Three arrests have been made over the armed robberies of seven different people in the early hours of Saturday 8 February across South Manchester.
The spate of robberies taking place in Fallowfield, Withington and Chorlton launched a major police investigation and police patrols of the areas were increased. No one was hurt but all the victims have been left badly shaken.
The first attack happened in Platt Fields Park at 1.40am where three men threatened an 18-year-old woman and a 19-year-old man at gunpoint, stole their property and walked off towards Wilmslow Road.
At 2am a 20-year-old man was assaulted during an attempted robbery on Ladybarn Lane in Fallowfield, suffering head injuries.
15 minutes later a woman was threatened with a gun and pushed to the floor on Derby Road, also in Fallowfield. The three men ran off empty handed.
Just before three o’clock a man was threatened and robbed at gun point on Moorfield Road, Withington and at 4.10am police were called to Barlow Moor Road, Chorlton after another man was threatened and robbed by a man with a gun.
A report of another man threatened by three men with a gun on Manchester Road, Chorlton is also being investigated.
Superintendent Wasim Chaudhry said, “These are a serious set of offences that we are treating as top priority and I will use whatever resources are required to indentify the offenders and bring them to justice.
On Saturday evening two 18-year-old men and a 23 year-old-man were arrested. Two imitation firearms were also later recovered.
Supt Chaudhry reassured local residents: “There will be a visible police presence in the areas and if anyone has any concerns they should speak to one of the officers.”
Hannah Patterson, the Welfare officer of University of Manchester’s Student’s Union gave students the following advice saying students should be “aware of your surroundings, making sure if you can that if you’re walking home you aren’t on your own or you’re taking taxis. Not flaunting expensive items, not walking around on your phone.”
She also wanted to reassure students that the police have been active, having 60 police officers deployed in Fallowfield each day last week, and overall, there has been a 12 percent decrease in crime against students this year.
Greater Manchester Police, the three students’ unions and the council are working in a partnership called ‘the student safe return strategy’ to reduce the amount of crime against students in Manchester. Manchester student homes, the security officers at both universities, the communications officers at both universities and the council are also involved in working against crime in student areas.
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