[A] VIDEO which claims to show a balaclava-clad vigilante destroying a drug dealer’s car has been slammed as ‘fake news’ by police.
Bolton police have reassured residents after reports that armed and masked men are patrolling the streets in Blackrod.
The video shows a balaclava-clad ‘vigilante’ armed with an axe hitting a car then destroying it with a forklift truck, the man in the video claims it belonged to a drug-dealer.
Chief Inspector Clark Bowers of GMP’s Bolton Borough, said: “We are aware of a video that shows a person in a balaclava with an axe claiming to be part of a ‘vigilante’ group from Blackrod.
“While it appears to be very real, this is fake news. It is not a true reflection of the people of Blackrod nor of the current picture of crime in the area and it is very misleading.
“We have identified the person in the video and have established that this is a staged video and although it was not a good decision to make, there was no malicious intent.
“Unfortunately, before we were able to investigate this fully, it was shared a number of times on social media and used by some newspapers, causing unnecessary worry and panic.
“I want it to be clear that we have listened and will continue to listen to the concerns raised to us to do everything we can to solve crimes and make sure people are safe but we need to firstly, be informed and secondly, need you to work with us, not against us.
“We will of course respond to incidents where there is an immediate risk to someone’s safety or their life quicker than we will for burglaries or ongoing antisocial behaviour in the area but this does not mean that we are not doing anything.
“There are dedicated officers, staff and volunteers working hard to identify ways in which we are working well and ways in which we could improve.
“It’s no secret that we are not always able to investigate every crime when there aren’t forensic opportunities, CCTV or a likelihood of a conviction but please, let us be the ones to make that assessment.”