POLICE in Skelmersdale are hunting gangs of youths who went on a ‘copycat’ riot in the town.
The teenage boys tried to set fire to a bench outside a pub, threw a trolley at a supermarket window and pelted missiles including beer bottles full of petrol at police officers.
The incidents took place last Tuesday (August 9) amidst rioting up and down the country.
Now, CCTV images of the group have been released in the hope that the public can help identify the culprits.
Inspector Sue Swift told the Advertiser: “We have launched a full investigation into the incidents which have obviously occurred against a backdrop of rioting elsewhere.
“Anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated in West Lancashire. Patrols have been increased in the area and we are working closely with our community partners to prevent incidents of this nature from happening.”
The first incident took place around 10pm near the Concourse Shopping Centre when a group of boys attempted to set fire to a bench outside the Viking pub.
Police were called to the scene where youths had made their way on to the footbridge over the Concourse car park and started throwing stones and coins at officers.
Petrol was also hurled at police in beer bottles near the subway at Fairstead in Birch Green.
Around 11pm, a gang attempted to break into Asda on Ingram by throwing a trolley at a window , although no damage was caused.
A 15-year-old boy from Skelmersdale has been arrested on suspicion of unlawful violence and has been released on police bail until September 22 pending further enquiries.
However, police are still keen to identify a number of other youths seen in the area at the time.
Det Sgt Phil Bowerbank from Skelmersdale Police said: “I would urge people to take a close look at the CCTV images and if they recognise any of the individuals to contact police.”
Birch Green councillor Neil Pye said he was very shocked and appalled by the incidents.
He said: “The actions of this destructive and mindless minority are not representative of the majority of residents in Birch Green who go about their normal daily business.Š
“It is hoped that the CCTV footage will lead to the arrest and conviction of these offenders.
“I hope this will also serve as a warning that the use of violent behaviour towards members of the public, property and local businesses with the intention of striking fear and terror into the heart of the neighbourhood, will not be tolerated in any shape or form.”
DO you know the youths in the pictures? Anyone with any information should contact police on 0845 1253545 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.