UK towns warzone McDonalds smashed to bits as trouble kicks off every week

Residents of one UK town say trouble in the town centre "kicks off at least a couple of times a week" – and the latest victim was their McDonald's.

Staff at the fast food restaurant on Ashton-under-Lyne's Warrington Street arrived on September 8 to find the glass windows and doors had been smashed by mindless vandals.

The McDonald's was able to remain open after taping off the damaged area for customers' safety. But Manchester Evening News reports that for some in Ashton, the incident is a symbol of a wider crime problem.

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Images of the damage were shared on Facebook by local blogger Massimino Malacrino. He said it got a huge reaction from people saying they "hate" the restaurant because of the intimidating atmosphere.

He told Manchester Evening News: "I believe it should be shut down. A lot of people are being intimidated in the restaurant, it's disgusting. It needs to be moved." Police believe it was an isolated incident and no arrests have been made in relation to it.

Facebook users claimed there is a lack of "security" at the store, with people "too scared" to speak up against those causing trouble. Bosses at the restaurant insist security and safety for its customers and staff is a priority, however, and the doors have since been repaired.

One diner said: "It will never stop, it's just part of Ashton and it's getting worse. It's just crazy. It kicks off at least a couple of times a week." Another said: "I thought there had been a fight. My husband who works at a shop here in Ashton said someone has said to him that it's like a war here in the town with all the fighting."

Work is taking place to try and combat the issue. Last year a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) was introduced, meaning fines of £1,000 could be issued to those drinking alcohol, taking drugs or performing other anti-social activities in Ashton town centre.

There have also been policing operations. On Thursday (September 21), Tameside officers patrolled the town centre following what they described as an increase in reports of anti-social behaviour, criminal damage and robberies.

Sergeant Rob Froggatt, of the Greater Manchester Police neighbourhood team based in Ashton, believes the town centre is in a better place than it was two years ago with more staff and resources focused there.

"We've been doing a lot of community engagement work at the stalls in the market, giving crime prevention advice," he said. "Touch wood, everything is quite good within the town centre itself. We had the incident at McDonald's, for us that was a one-off, isolated incident." He added that the PSPO has led to around 175 people being "spoken to and moved on".

A McDonald's spokesperson said: "This incident happened during the early hours of the morning whilst the restaurant was closed.

"The safety and security of our people and our customers is our utmost priority, and our Ashton restaurant has various measures in place to help mitigate the challenges of anti-social behaviour affecting the wider area, including investing in CCTV and closing at 10pm. The restaurant team continues to work closely with the police and other local businesses to understand how we can be a part of the solution."

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