Controversial ‘vigilante group’ set for Town Hall showdown

Screenshot 2022-04-14 at 11.22.33

One of the hottest current topics, in a notoriously racist town north east of Manchester, is a neighbourhood group described in the city’s evening newspaper as ‘vigilantes’. (read more here).

Failsworth Street Patrol (FSP), founded around eighteen months ago and run by local man, Paul Wadsworth, purports to keep the streets safe by sending out unvetted men in hoods and balaclavas in the early hours of the morning. Amongst these patrollers are said to be three notorious criminals; racist, riot starter and football hooligan, Steve Walsh (read more here), who appears to have a great deal to do with the running of FSP; his close friend and prolific, notorious burglar, Garry Dunkerley (read more here); and convicted drug grower and distributor, Nyle Edwards (read more here). 

There is evidence of members of the public being harassed and in one case, unlawfully detained, notably, it seems, by their own account, Afghan refugees currently residing at the Victoria Hotel in nearby Hollinwood. That is not to say that any of Walsh, Dunkerley or Edwards were involved in those incidents. The perpetrators are, as yet, unknown.

The FSP page on Facebook, authored mostly by Wadsworth, has become infamous for its frequently misleading and, at times, racist posts. It is also well known for quickly removing any critical comments, blocking the authors and then the FSP leading lights, notably Walsh and Dunkerley with their many Facebook and Twitter aliases, pile in, smearing its critics in the most appalling manner possible, elsewhere on social media. Targets include members of another Facebook group in the town, Failsworth Moan.

In the early days, FSP was supported by some of the local politicians in the town; principally, the Failsworth Independent Party and its Group Leader on Oldham Council, Cllr Brian Hobin, whom, twice, gave them a rousing and public endorsement on his own Facebook page. Others, such as former Leader of the Council, Sean Fielding, presciently harboured doubts about the capability of Wadsworth to run such an entity and, also, was concerned about the credentials some of the other characters involved with FSP. Another Labour councillor, Pete Davis, who is a leading light in the highly acclaimed and police/council approved Oldham Street Angels, has, notably, kept his distance.

Over the past few weeks, tensions have risen within FSP as they have been repeatedly called out over alleged misdemeanours by Failsworth Moan members. This has culminated in a ‘peace meeting’, arranged for this evening (Thursday 14th April, 2022) at Failsworth Town Hall, to be attended by a small number of representatives from each of the two groups and chaired by Cllr Hobin. 

A list of questions to be put to FSP has been collected by the Moan administrator, Lucie Greg, and gives a fair indication of the class and scale of concerns over the running of the street patrol.

Patrollers:
1. How many active patrollers do FSP have?
2. How many nights a week do FSP patrol and for how many hours?
3. How can members of the public recognise FSP? Do they have ID cards? Claimed
they did on 17/10/2020 and 29/11/2020. Do they have a uniform?
4. What ID checks do FSP do on patrollers and who carries out these checks? On
15/10/2020 stated all volunteers sign an agreement, they hold records of car
details and patrollers will have photo ID
5. Are all patrollers enhanced DBS checked? As working with children and vulnerable
adults (homeless, dementia patients, etc). Claimed they were in process on
3/3/2021
6. Has Garry Dunkerley ever patrolled for FSP?
7. Do you think it is appropriate to have convicted criminals chasing innocent children
and threatening violence if they do catch them? Chased distressed 10/12 year old girl on 17/03/2021 and ‘young male’ on 26/03/2021
8. Are any of FSP trained in working with young people?
9. FSP posted on 28/09/2020 that they did not approach anyone, on 29/04/2021 they
‘caught some guys on bike at 03.45 on Averil Street carrying Makita tools, engaged
and found out where they live!. How did you find out where they live?

Finances:
1. Do FSP have a bank account? It is the law if collecting public money.
2. Why didn’t you go for charity status like you originally wanted to or become a
registered scheme provider under the Home Watch banner? (11/11/20) both would
have secured funding for FSP?
3. What happened to the £3009 GoFundMe raised in Paul’ Wadsworth’s name? Is there an audit trail? On 3/11/2020 FSP stated ‘not one volunteer has received a penny in the 12
weeks we have been doing this’
4. How much was raised at the Santa Singalong? What happened to that money and
who was responsible for counting and logging the money?
5. What happened to the other cash and cheque donations they received? SWR
Associates donated £250 on 13/11/2020, APG Decorating £100 on 12/11/2020
6. Are FSP willing to hand over their books and receipts for an independent audit by a
chartered accountant? This will be completely free of charge.
7. Why do you no longer ask for or accept donations?
8. Who is currently funding FSP? They drive average of 38 miles per night (post dated
30/10/2020) and fuel prices are high. How much does this cost per night and how
long is it sustainable?
9. How many employees did Cyro Locksmiths Ltd have before FSP started and how
many does it have now?

Insurance
1. Do you have valid public liability insurance? It appeared to expire 02/02/2022
2. How much did your previous insurance cost? You claimed you were getting quotes
of £2500 on 28/01/2021
3. What does the insurance cover? Are the public and patrollers both protected and
to what extent?

Additional questions:
1. Has the first responders NHS community ambulance been used by FSP on its
patrols?
2. How is FSP’s GDPR managed when taking photos in public of the general public
and posting them online without their permission?
3. Is it true a retired police officer has patrolled with you and if so what is their name?
4. What happened to Paul Wadsworth after he was questioned by the police for interfering with the police chase on 02/03/2021? Who paid for the residents fence to be repaired
that you damaged and do you have receipts?
5. Why have FSP posted images of a suicidal man on their page? 20/04/2021
6. Why have numerous people and fake profiles attached to FSP harassed, stalked
and intimidated females?
7. Why does one of your patrollers incite racism on your page and why aren’t racist
comments removed?
8. How was FSP founded? Paul said ‘one man and his dog’ but isn’t that Crimewatchers?
9. On 27/10/2020 FSP posted that they had been informed by the police that crime in
Failsworth has dropped, so car insurance will go down and house prices increase,
do they have the official statistics?

On any independent view, that is a formidable list of sensible, but very serious, concerns about the running of the Failsworth Street Patrol. Paul Wadsworth has always stated publicly that he is prepared to meet any group, any time to address any concerns about the running of FSP and it was on that simple premise that the meeting with representatives of Failsworth Moan was predicated. However, since then the Moaners have been subjected to a stream of intimidation tactics and unworkable, ludicrous suggestions about the venue and format of the meeting. There is now some doubt as to whether Wadsworth or anyone else from FSP will turn up at the meeting with answers to these public interest questions and produce the accounting books and receipts that have been requested.

Cllr Hobin posted on FSP yesterday to the effect that he has arranged the time and venue, is expecting three members from each of FSP and Moan to be there and if they are not then the meeting goes ahead regardless with a consequent loss of faith and trust in those that don’t appear. He also asserted his neutrality, stating that he had no allegiance to any individual that may be present at the Town Hall meeting or either of the two factions, both of whom had carried criticism of him and his political party in the past on their pages.

An article on the outcome of the meeting will be published on this website, either later tonight or, more likely, tomorrow morning.

The press office at the North West Ambulance Service was contacted regarding the use of the NHS liveried vehicle by FSP. A spokesman for NWS said that he had been told that the vehicle had not been used by the street patrollers. Since being presented with unequivocal evidence that it has, there has been no further comment. 

Page last updated: Thursday 14th April, 2022 at 1735 hours

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Picture credit: FSP

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© Neil Wilby 2015-2022. Unauthorised use, or reproduction, of the material contained in this article, without permission from the author, is strictly prohibited. Extracts from, and links to, the article (or blog) may be used, provided that credit is given to Neil Wilby Media, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Published by Neil Wilby

Former Johnston Press area managing director. Justice campaigner. Freelance investigative journalist.

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