Bottle thrower is identified as ‘Walter Mitty’ character

Screenshot 2022-07-19 at 09.04.50

Yet another convicted criminal has now been identified as part of the infamous group that self-style as The Rabble in Oldham.

Over the past two years, having terrorised critics of their cult hero, unemployed Tameside conspiracy theorist, Raja Miah, with on-line ‘pile-ons’, and targeted stalking and trolling, they have more recently turned their attention to seriously disrupting council meetings at the Civic Centre from the public galleries.

One of the low spots, in what have been quite disgraceful and alarming scenes, was the throwing of a bottle over the security screens as last week’s meeting ended. Hitting a senior member of the council’s paid officer contingent sat in the chamber.

The perpetrator has now been identified, from film taken of the incident, as 57 year old Gary Leese, whose last known address was Rock Street, Oldham.

He was jailed in December, 2021 for persistently breaching a court injunction, preventing him from impersonating staff at social housing provider, First Choice Homes Oldham. He served just under three months of a six month sentence at HMP Forest Bank.

Passing himself off as a ‘community representative’ amongst fellow tenants at a block of apartments near to Oldham town centre, Leese ‘advised’ them on how to get repairs carried out. But FCHO became concerned over potential breaches of safety as a result of those activities. After a lengthy dialogue broke down, FCHO was forced to take court action against him. 

Gary Leese has previously asserted that he served in the Army in Afghanistan, but basic checks established that such a claim was not true. A long-term friend, Andy Taylor, who knew him as a young man in the Chadderton area says, in the kindest sense, that Leese is a ‘Walter Mitty’ character with suspected mental health problems. Mr Taylor maintains that FCHO should be helping him with those issues rather than trying to evict him over an unpaid legal fees bill of £5,154, plus interest.

In October, 2021 Gary Leese started work with an organisation called Oldham Tenants Action Group saying:  “I am looking at getting tenants the right help and support in keeping a safe home”. He appears to have six Facebook accounts with several stating that he studied at the University of Salford in or around 2009. One of those accounts identifies him as a supporter of the now defunct far-right political party, Proud of Oldham and Saddleworth. More recently he has claimed that he is able to give advice on welfare rights officer and as a qualified Citizens Advice Bureau officer via a website with the domain name, In one post, in spite of his 2020 criminal conviction, Leese claims he is an honest and truthful person.

It is understood that neither Oldham Council nor Greater Manchester Police will be taking any further action against Leese over the bottle-throwing, other than banning him from future meetings at the Civic Centre. Whether that applies to his other recent and, apparently, false claims regarding his qualifications and competencies remains to be seen.

Others set to be banned include Garry Dunkerley, a notorious, prolific, convicted burglar and, more recently, the Borough’s most outrageous on-line liar, stalker and troll (read more here), convicted riot-starter, Stephen Walsh, and Warren Bates, a former councillor who freely admits he is Oldham’s most persistent public nuisance. He also admitted earlier this year that he had committed election fraud prior to the May, 2021 polls.

Bates was banned from the civic centre earlier this year following an incident with a female employee of Oldham Council whom, it is alleged, he verbally assaulted. A matter that was reported to the police at the time. In the past, the 84 year old Failsworth resident has been subjected to at least one Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO), which he treats as a ‘badge of honour’, revelling in his notoriety both in person and on social media.

Walsh, using a multitude of anonymous social media accounts, mostly with racist connotations, partners Dunkerley in their grotesquely offensive on-line stalking and trolling. He is admin of a racist, far-right cesspit, Failsworth First, that appears to be a natural home to a number of the town’s criminals, thugs and perverts.

The right of another far-right activist (and Tommy Robinson supporter), Debbie Barratt-Cole, to attend future meetings at Oldham Civic Centre is also under review. She has not lived in Oldham for well over a year and attends as a friend and supporter of ‘Sophie’, a survivor of child sexual exploitation who features strongly in an Assurance Review report that has created much controversy since it was belatedly published last month. Ms Barratt-Cole frequently, and loudly, interrupts elected Members, or invited representatives, and films proceedings from within the council chamber itself, rather than remaining in the public gallery.

Page last updated Wednesday 20th July, 2022 at 1050hrs

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Picture credits: Oldham Council

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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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