Steven and I were just leaving the Monton Estate residents meeting last night chatting to some residents when one of them spotted a fire on the site of the former Whitworth School.
Steven and I jumped on our bikes and cycled over there.
We went through the gap in the fence to find a small fire and saw 2 lads (approx 12 yrs old, wearing dark clothes with their hoods up) running off.
I quickly spotted a section of copper cable several metres long and realised that the fire was for burning the rubber off the copper cable to be able to go and cash it in.
The price of scrap metal has gone up a lot lately which is why we are seeing a spate of thefts of cabling and also the lead flashing off the walk-up flats such as Bentley House and Northdown, Southdown and Grenham in St Georges.
We phoned the police, who were going to take an hour to come out, the lads were still hanging around at a safe distance waiting for us to go presumably to come back for their copper.
So, we took matters into our own hands and after asking a local resident to call out the fire brigade if the fire got any worse (it was small and looked safe to us), we headed off through the estate with 3 residents to take the copper to the police station.
We ignored the phone outside the police station as we knew it would be useless telling a call centre in Wigan that we were outside Greenheys with some copper and were just about to chuck it over the fence when someone came out and took it off us and agreed to call off the patrol as it was no longer needed.
It just goes to show, you should always expect the unexpected in this job!
I must also add that I really appreciated the kind words from Alice at the residents meeting who thanked me for my contribution in my last 5 years as a Councillor. The Monton estate is a great community, their passion and neighbourlyness stands out. Thank you.