Market traders in a once-bustling UK town say they are being terrorised by youths – who are setting stalls on fire, stealing and abusing people.
Hyde Market, in Greater Manchester, underwent a £1.2million upgrade in 2012 – but just over a decade on people working there believe the market is in decline and “going down”.
One anonymous stall owner told the MEN that people were being “terrorised” by youths – and claimed there was nothing left in Hyde except “takeaways and charity shops”.
He added: “They come on bikes and do wheelies and sit on the stalls and smoke weed openly. They’re terrorising everybody.
“It happens every day. That’s why the market is empty. It’s gone worse over the last year.”
In a terrifying incident in late August video emerged of a group of balaclava-clad motorbike riders armed with a baseball bat and bolt cutters causing havoc at the market – held on the street where notorious serial killer Harold Shipman once had a GP practice.
Umair Hussain, who has worked at the market for 15 years, said he used to open six days a week, but that he now gets “too much hassle”.
He told the MEN: “I have regular customers who don’t come anymore. It puts people off coming to the market.”
Mr Hussain said youths had stolen stock and thrown abuse at him – and that stalls at the market had been set on fire.
He added: “The council should see what is going on and try to help but they don’t. We get no protection.”
Others feel that more should be done to provide opportunities for the youths.
Keith Millward, who owns dance school Allegiant Studios, said: “It’s easy to point the finger and say there are so many youths in Hyde but what are they going to do? People say you’re a criminal, you’re no good, but there’s no support anymore.”
He added: “You can’t expect kids to create their own opportunities if they don’t know how to. People say they need to get jobs but where or how?”
A Tameside Council spokesperson said: “We’re helping Greater Manchester Police with their ongoing investigation into an incident at Hyde Market.
“The force put in place a Section 60 dispersal order and increased patrols in the area over the weekend.
“We work hard to support stallholders with any issues and are always happy to discuss any concerns with them.”