|Wigan Business Crime Partnership Smashes Notorious M62 Gang
Wigan's CCTV suite
A criminal gang who stole over £300,000 of designer clothes, including £9,000 from Wigan stores are now behind bars, thanks to officers from the Wigan Business Crime Partnership.
The “M62 Gang” - 4 females in their mid 30s to early 50s - have been operating across the North West shoplifting from high end designer womenswear stores, taking up to £5000 worth of clothes on each visit.
A specialist officer, working with Wigan Council on behalf of Wigan’s Business Crime Partnership, was instrumental in securing the gang members’ arrests after undertaking surveillance in the town centre. That officer shared information about the gang’s activities in Wigan with colleagues across the region, which was crucial to the police arresting the four women in York last month.
Cllr Kevin Anderson, the cabinet champion for safer communities, says: “This is an excellent result for the close teamwork of the Crime Partnership. Their work must remain confidential, but we can all be grateful that this gang has been stopped in its tracks, stealing from local shops who are working hard in the grip of a recession.”
The specialist officer had been gathering evidence that the women had been coming to Wigan since August. Carol Ramsey, Lorraine Matthews and Collette and Debbie Ryan had been in town for six days a week, systematically targeting some of the top retail names in the town centre.
The four women were sentenced at Manchester Crown Court last week, with Carol Ramsey and Lorraine Matthews each receiving 14 months. Collette Ryan was jailed for 10 months and Debbie Ryan for 6 months.
The Crime Partnership was set up in 2001 in Wigan. It works to co-ordinate intelligence about criminal activities between Wigan’s day time and evening economies, Robin Retail Park and Ashton town centre, linking in with the council’s CCTV network. Images of known offenders are circulated amongst members as part of the group’s intelligence gathering operations. Violent crime in Wigan town centre reduced by 31 per cent last year and the team have won a number of industry awards.
Cllr Anderson adds that the partnership wasn’t created because of any increase in crime. “Wigan remains to be one of the safest places to live, work and visit in Greater Manchester,” he says. “By maintaining and improving the standards of crime reduction, we can ensure even better and safer environment for businesses, residents and visitors.”