Shirebrook violence and anti social behaviour sparks two days of protests

Troy Kissane, who was the main spokesman during the Shirebrook protest rally on Saturday, addresses the crowd in Shirebrook Market Place.
Troy Kissane, who was the main spokesman during the Shirebrook protest rally on Saturday, addresses the crowd in Shirebrook Market Place.

Angry Shirebrook residents have called for councillors to resign after the recent spate of violence and anti-social behaviour in the town.

Two alleged stabbings in a fortnight and increasing street-drinking hooliganism in the town centre sparked a week of protest as people said enough was enough.

Hundreds attended a protest in the marketplace on Saturday calling for more action by the town council and police.

But the Chairman of Shirebrook Town Council said councillors shared their frustrations and described the situation as “a potential time bomb”.

He said the Town Council had no control over immigration and could only advise Derbyshire Constabulary on policing issues.

The recent trouble in the town has been blamed on a small minority of Eastern European men and a clash of cultures - gangs of men drinking in the town centre leaving women and pensioners feeling intimidated.

Following the rally in the marketplace, the residents marched to the Sports Direct warehouse, where they held another demonstration outside.

Thousands of Eastern European workers have moved to the area to work at the warehouse owned by billionaire businessman Mike Ashley.

On Wednesday, hundreds of residents packed a scheduled meeting of Shirebrook Town Council.

Protestors called for councillors to resign and announced they were forming an independent residents committee in the town.

Former town councillor David Anthony who organised the rally said: “Town councillors are not listening to people’s fears and says there has been a lack of policing to tackle the problem.

“Residents are forming a committee because they have lost confidence in the council.”

He said the rally on Saturday had also been supported by Polish residents.

Addressing the rally, one of the speakers, Troy Kissane said: “I have nothing against Eastern Europeans -most of them are alright it’s just a small minority of them that behave in this way. We all know that.”

“This is nothing to do with the BNP. This is nothing about racism.”

He said the protest had shown that residents were prepared to do something about the situation.

He told the crowd: “Over this last week I’ve seen more police knocking about this village and knocking about in vans and cars than in the last four years.”

Chairman of Shirebrook Town Council Steven Fritchley said he met with Inspector Frank Burns of Derbyshire Constabulary and the acting sergeant to voice his fears on the 3rd of June - before the latest stabbing incident which he said had ‘added fuel to the fire’.

He said: “I explained to the inspector my fears and people’s fears about the potential time bomb we are sitting on.

“Shirebrook Town Council is getting blamed for policing and not sending the Polish back.

“I and the Town Council really do share people’s frustrations - there are some things we can do and some we can’t.

“We have no control over the police or immigration. We have asked the police to enforce the laws equally for everybody, make drinking in the street an arrestable offence and urinating and defecating in the street an arrestable offence. This is a police issue.

“There has got to be a joint effort here. We all have apart to play we have got to make sure that the situation is resolved.”

He added: “While they don’t have a legal responsibility I think Mike Ashley and Sports Direct have a moral obligation to the people of Shirebrook.

“People his agents have pulled in who are not working are the ones that seem to be loitering in Shirebrook market and other places.

“He should be morally responsible for his workforce and what they get up to when they are not working.”

Chad put Coun Fritchley’s complaints to Sports Direct, but they declined to comment.

Inspector Frank Burns said there had been an increased visibility of police in the town centre.

The force was already rethinking its plans and the strategy for the area which is a policing priority area.

He added dealing with incidents like street drinking and urinating in public was not necessarily easy with current legislation.

Insp Burns said: “It has been a difficult and challenging time for everybody. I thought on Saturday the community of Shirebrook coming out was a really positive in terms of people being interested and enthusiastic about things.

“I got to speak to a lot of people and we want to keep that momentum going.

“My feeling is optimistic it has created out of a crisis a more galvanised group of people and better communication between ourselves the Council and the community,” he added.