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Sadly life isn't a complete bunch of roses in Rishton, and incidents happen often, these are a few of the other side of life.

Paperboy Attacked

BRAVE paperboy Darren Cant was back at work delivering the Lancashire Evening Telegraph just 24 hours after a vicious street attack. Darren, 15, was picked on by two youths wielding a stick while he was delivering papers in the Danvers Street area of Rishton. The thugs hit Darren so hard they broke their stick on his legs and then started kicking and punching the terrified youngster. He also had his glasses broken when he was punched in the face. But Darren finished his round before reporting the assault. Then he was taken to Blackburn Royal infirmary with bruises and cuts.

Darren, of Knowles Street, Rishton, said: "These two lads who I don't know, came up to me and said they wanted me to fight their friend. "When I said I didn't want to, they started to hit me with the stick and then they kicked and punched me. It was very frightening. I have been picked on at school but nothing like this has ever happened to me before." Police have since interviewed Darren about the attack and taken photographs of his injuries. His mum Janet Cant said: "Darren seems to get picked on a lot and I am getting sick and tired of it. "Perhaps the police will be able to do something about it this time."

Newsagent Les Smalley, the owner of the shop where Darren works, has changed the youngster's round to protect him from more trouble. He said: "Darren is one of the most popular boys we have and all my customers think the world of him. "Several of the ladies on Darren's round were really worried about him when they heard what had happened."

Cats Poisoned

On Tuesday 28 April 1998 POLICE were investigating a spate of suspected cat poisonings in Rishton. Around half a dozen pets became ill and were taken to vets by distressed owners from the Walmsley Avenue, Station Road and Shaw Brook Close area.

Inspector Bob Ford of Great Harwood police said: "The symptoms appear to be consistent with some sort of poisoning, but we have no idea what the cause is. There is a thought it could be linked to the use of things like weed killer, either in domestic gardens or elsewhere."

Police were liaising with the RSPCA and British Transport Police regarding a possible spillage on the nearby railway line, and Hyndburn environmental health department.

Inspector Ford added: "We acknowledge the distress it causes cat owners. "There is always the possibility that whatever is causing the problem for cats could be available to children, which is obviously of great concern, and we are doing all we can to establish the cause."

Most of the cats affected were being treated. Two belonged to Steven and Jackie Roberts, who lived in Walmsley Avenue. The family took Yeltsin and Sooty to a 24-hour veterinary surgery in Clitheroe, where both pets were put under sedation. Mr Roberts, a leading firefighter at Blackburn fire station, said: "They were both showing exactly the same symptoms. I don't hold out much hope for them. I was concerned enough to think someone was perhaps using something somewhere in the vicinity so I rang the police and they told me there had been a number of incidents in the immediate area."

Police advised owners to keep an eye on their pets and seek veterinary advice should they show any symptoms.

Crime Figures Tumble

Published on Thursday 29 January 1998, it was reported that DRAMATIC falls in crime levels in Hyndburn show the borough is winning the battle to beat the criminals, according to police chiefs. New figures reveal the borough has had some of the biggest falls in the county as crime was slashed over 1997, And Great Harwood was leading the way in the crusade to tackle crime after a 27 per cent drop was reported.

Police put the sharp fall down to targeting known criminals and a pilot scheme to hit crime at the source. However, the figures do show sharp increases - 35 per cent in Rishton - in the levels of juvenile nuisance in certain areas of the borough.

Superintendent Wendy Walker said the falls mirror the trend for the rest of the eastern division whichlso includes Blackburn, Darwen and Ribble Valley. The superintendent, who is operations manager for the eastern division, said: "Crime came down by 11.5 per cent in the eastern division. In my 17 years in the police I have never seen a reduction in crime the way it is in the eastern division at the moment. We are definitely winning in the battle to tackle crime. In Hyndburn and throughout the division the crime reductions are the best in the county."

The figures were revealed at a meeting of Hyndburn police and community forum and showed crime decreased in Accrington in the following areas:

burglary in dwellings down by 28 per cent;
burglary in non-dwellings down by 12 per cent;
theft from motor vehicles down by 27 per cent;
stealing of motor vehicles down by 14 per cent.

Inspector Stephen Lee, of Accrington police, said: "These figures coincide with the fact that we have been targeting known offenders who are thought to be responsible for the bulk of crime. Many of these offenders are now serving prison sentences." He added that the Problem Orientated Policing initiative had also played a big part in the fall since the pilot scheme was introduced in Accrington last year. The scheme works by targeting the root causes of crime rather than officers responding to a problem time after time.

The steep fall in Great Harwood was attributed to good policing and getting the community to take a stand against crime. Inspector John Pennington of Great Harwood police said: "The figures are excellent and the biggest fall in the town was a 48 per cent drop in burglaries. A lot is down to people standing up and being counted, such as acting as witnesses. It is courageous on their part. However, he said action would need to be taken to combat rising juvenile nuisance levels. It affects people's quality of life. If we want to reassure them and make them feel safe we have to address it."

References

First published on Thursday 18 January 1996 in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph, Tuesday 28 April 1998, Thursday 29 January 1998.