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Didsbury done over: a suburban crime wave

Charlene McCauley and a criminal blight on restaurants and pubs in the pleasant southern suburb

Published on July 10th 2009.

Didsbury done over: a suburban crime wave

Businesses in Didsbury village are on high alert after the fourth violent raid within two months. The latest robbery happened on Saturday night when four masked men, one armed with a shotgun, robbed Felicini restaurant on Wilmslow Road, making away with a ‘quantity of cash’.

Opening the front door in the early hours of Monday morning, the attacker punched the landlord twice in the face, before forcing him to disable the alarm and fleeing with a large amount of cash.

The good old days

Whether the robberies are connected remains unclear but the perpetrators are not deterred by the fact Didsbury Police Station is only a few metres from the three businesses they have targeted, its presence probably adding to the thugs’ credibility. The leafy south Manchester ‘village’ is a business hub, from small independents to big chain stores, its proximity to the motorway and the city centre proving to be a great getaway route for criminals.

In May, the manager at La Tasca was hit over the head with a vinegar bottle and his staff were tied up by three armed robbers. In this case, the offenders left empty handed as the safe was empty but not before head-butting the manager, leaving him with a bloodied head and bruised face. The police described the attack as “humiliating and violent”, demonstrating the thugs will “stop at nothing to get what they wanted”.

On June 6, masked raiders armed with a gun, axe and knife threatened staff in Nando’s at Parrs Wood Centre. The three robbers ordered the five staff to the back of the restaurant and stole what police described as a ‘quantity of cash’, leaving the workers unharmed but “extremely shaken” by robbers “intent on causing as much fear as possible”.

The Royal Oak

A few days after the Nando’s incident, a man armed with a knife repeatedly punched the landlord of the Royal Oak during another violent robbery. Opening the front door in the early hours of Monday morning, the attacker punched the landlord twice in the face, before forcing him to disable the alarm and fleeing with a large amount of cash.

On Saturday, the Didsbury branch of Felicini’s - which is a few doors down from the Royal Oak - was targeted by four masked men, one armed with a shotgun. They forced a member of staff to the safe and stole a ‘quantity of cash’ before fleeing. Director of Felicini’s, Ged Lynch, described the armed robbery as “a traumatic incident for our staff, who reacted in a calm manner”. Police said it was “a nasty incident which left the staff unharmed but terrified”.

All of the armed robberies have happened when the businesses were closed and apart from the Royal Oak, still had a number of staff on the premises. Just as the presence of the village’s police station is not a deterrent, nor is the number of people who are bearing witness to the acts of these criminals.

Business owners in the village are now on high alert following the spate of robberies in recent months. One business owner, who asked not to be named, said: “I always try to take the necessary precautions and measures but it’s worrying the amount of robberies that have been happening. We’ve all just got to keep vigilant”.

The Police Station

With Greater Manchester Police investigating the raids, but with justice yet to be done, Didsbury can only hope there will be halt to the robberies that have gripped the area.

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26 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

EditorialJuly 10th 2009.

Richard Nash, I suggest you listen to our interview with the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Peter Fahy and see what he's doing to stop police time being wasted on form fillins, it's very encouraging. Look in the News and Comment section on this site and you'll find it.

FU CKVJuly 10th 2009.

@CKV, Didsbury is in the real world. People here have more respect for one another and are on the whole better behaved! In other words there are less scroats and scallys, thugs and thieves.Shouldn't we be promoting the benefits of areas with less crime and trying to spread this type of living throughout society ?

John BoothJuly 10th 2009.

I really enjoy going to West Didsbury, lots of individual bars and restaurants apart from Picolino. There seems to be little trouble compared with Didsbury which is full of chain themed bars and restaurants

MissBoobyJuly 10th 2009.

My flat is directly across the road from the police station, the lights come on at random times and every now and again they open those blue blinds and you get to see the elusive creatures. My favourite time was when I was watching Total Recall the other night and one of the police officers was doing the exact same thing but with their legs up, I was sat on the sofa in a more civilised manner. Exciting stuff.

East LancsJuly 10th 2009.

As far as I was aware, the Police Station in Dids is only open at certain times; the divisional HQ is on Elizabeth Slinger (they call it Nell Lane Nick).

Crime PaysJuly 10th 2009.

Robbers will always target seemingly "well off areas" they're not daft, they know there is money there, the fact remains that there is still no proper deterrent in this country to stop it all, and the balance of probabilities makes it favourable for people to carry on committing crime as they know they will probably get off. There are simply too many people profiteering from crime in this country namely the bent judiciary: judgests, solictors and senior police who all piss in the same filthy masonic pot whilst creaming off the rewards......whos letting all the drugs into the country - have a think!

Blue MagooJuly 10th 2009.

The police station in the village is only used for coppers sitting exams!!I've lived in the village for 20 years including the period when the Tories ran the country. Guess what Mr Nash, there were robberies in Didsbury then too! Including the poor soul at Kwik-Save on Burton road who was shot dead point blank and murdered!!! "All governments and coppers are incompetent".

CBJuly 10th 2009.

this is not really news.These raids have been going on for a good 7 or 8 years and happen every summer around Didsbury and Chorlton. As soon as summer comes around they start back up and they are all very similar in their style of robberies.

naiveJuly 10th 2009.

sounds to me like she was a bit short of a brain cell or two to me?

RICHARD NASHJuly 10th 2009.


DidsburyBoyJuly 10th 2009.

This report is shocking and brings to light the fact that the police station less than 100 yrds away from some of the named businesses is literally a waste of a building. If you put 4 OAP's in a caravan on Whilmslow rd they would have more of a presence. Maybe Confidential could use its weight to look into just how inaffective the station is and prompt changes, Mr Schofield???

cigpapersJuly 10th 2009.

Even though these incidents are terrible , maybe it was time for the people of Didsbury to get a multicultural reality check.End the madness - VOTE BNP!

east lancsJuly 10th 2009.

I think from now on I'll mark all of my emails "urgent" and embolden all of my text; that way people will know my opinion is more important than theirs.

mJuly 10th 2009.

The same thing happened around Didsbury, Withington and Chorlton a couple of years ago and there were far more than 4 raids. I don't think they ever caught them so it's probably the same people. It'd be quite worrying to be opening or closing a bar at night because they did seem to target establishments of all sizes, from the pitcher and piano in Didsbury, to Joy bar in Withington. This article suggests there were at least 12 raids: www.southmanchesterreporter.co.uk/…/512271_were_sitting_ducks…

lovin londonJuly 10th 2009.

Director of Felicini's, Ged Lynch, described the armed robbery as "a traumatic incident for our staff, who reacted in a calm manner". Police said it was "a nasty incident which left the staff unharmed but terrified".I was a waiter at Felicini when they were last held up a couple of years ago. The directors Ged and Neil put the manager on duty (who had a gun put it in his face) through a disciplinary a week later and gave him a final warning. Probably for a insurance deal. Great way to treat your employees eh?

DidsburyGirlJuly 10th 2009.

Its not just businesses in Didsbury being targeted at the moment - my estate is on high alert at the moment following a spate of robberies - my own house included. We keep getting more and more warning leaflets pushed through our letter boxes. Didsbury doesn't seem as safe anymore.

CKVJuly 10th 2009.

usual Didsbury bias, welcome to the real world

OJuly 10th 2009.

Molly get yourself a stun gun

InadeghettoJuly 10th 2009.

I lived in Dids (Village & West) for several years. I Live in Rusholme now. Neighbours are massively more friendly. In Dids "aloof" would be a good term. I got locked out having been in my new house for a couple of days, a lass across the road said I could wait in her house... she left me there while she went shopping. That wouldn't happen in Didsbury.

Jack RussellJuly 10th 2009.

I'm glad that you were convinced by the sweet words of Fahy, but I'm with Richard Nash.The coppers at the coal face start with the best of intentions, but after seeing the results of the hours they put into police work once offenders get into the justice system they lose heart.Human nature takes over and people such as the good citizens of Didsbury pay the price. The social experiment that is being espoused by the likes of Fahy and our top brass is not working, and unless somebody is big enough to admit it things will just get worse.As a former home secretary said, quoting Hegel " The owl of Minerva spreads it's wings only with the falling of the dusk"I think he meant that everything is going to get worse before it gets better.

OJuly 10th 2009.

I love it that the article says the manager of La Tasca was hit over the head with a vinegar bottle. A vinegar bottle yeah? Who cares what type of container he was hit with? Fantastic. Personally if I were the victim of a robbery and had to be hit with any condiment it would be a ketchup bottle because the sauce would hide the blood and reduce my shock. Or the Hellman's squeezy mayo because that is a plastic bottle and mayo is delicious...mmmmmmmmmmm

LouJuly 10th 2009.

After being burgled less than a month ago, my boyfriend got up in the night and disturbed some people in our garden, presumably the same thieves back to try again. They obviously have no fear of being caught if they can return to the same streets time and time again.Though the police have been driving a patrol car around our street once every couple of days at 6pm. The obvious time to deter burglars

DaveJuly 10th 2009.

To be fair, the govmt has put a lot of money into the sorts of services that might encourage would-be scrotes to take a different path in life. What more can they do without sterilising likely scrote-parents? It does seem odd that these attacks have been going on for years in Didsbury and Chorlton but I don't recall anyone ever being convicted, it's like the wild west.

RICHARD NASHJuly 10th 2009.

Didsbury is encountering the national crime wave so endemic with Gordon Browns Britain , a socialist government that tags and lets out criminals early , a lethargic police force too busy filling out forms and doing its best to comply with the outrageous so called human rights act and meet meaningless govt crime statistics,,, sorry Didsbury welcome to New Labours Britain where iy costs 40000 pound per annum fund a prisoner ! while our pensioners die of the cold ...........!!!! TOUGH ON CRIME AND TOUGH ON THE CAUSES ! .... yes new labour!

crazyjohnJuly 10th 2009.

hahaha @ Miss Boobys post. I wouldn't want to be the policeman who gets busted for missing a violent robbery across the road because he's been too engrossed in Total Recall (and lets admit it, we've all been there). Get ready for a surpriiiiiiise!

MollyJuly 10th 2009.

Technically there is a police station in Didsbury but there might as well not be. When I was mugged I went to the police station and had to stand outside for ten minutes talking to someone on the police switchboard. There was no sign of anyone in the building and I was only let in when a policeman coming back with some food let me in. And even then they just took some notes, didn't even get back to me with updates even after I rang and left messages! Obviously too busy watching films!

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