‘Vigilante’ patrol returns to Manchester streets


The controversial Failsworth Street Patrol (FSP) is back.

Founded around two years ago and run by local man, Paul Wadsworth, FSP purports to keep the streets of the North East Manchester suburb 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).

Another patroller, Christopher Worden, was cleared of racially aggravated assault in November, 2021 over an alleged early morning attack on a man near the University of Manchester where he was deployed as a security guard.

There is evidence of members of the public being harassed and in one case, unlawfully detained, notably, it seems, by FSP’s own account, Afghan refugees residing at the Victoria Hotel in nearby Hollinwood.

That is not to say that any of the named patrollers were involved in those incidents. The perpetrators are, as yet, unknown.

The FSP page on Facebook, authored mostly by Wadsworth, became infamous locally 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 (read more here).

Dubbed as a ‘vigilante’ group by the police and local newspapers, they disappeared off the streets amidst a welter of adverse publicity in May of this year.

Out of the blue, FSP resumed its activities, and fundraising and recruiting, on 25th October, 2022 and have made six patrols up to the end of November.

The key objections to FSP remain: They are unregulated, unfocused and refuse to submit to Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.

They exist, it seems, because there is no political challenge to FSP from the ruling group in the town, the Failsworth Independent Party (FIP), who now control five of the six seats on the local council.

In the early days, FSP was heavily supported by FIP Group Leader, 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 of some of the other characters involved with FSP.

Another former Labour councillor in the town, Pete Davis, who is a leading light in the highly acclaimed and police/council approved Oldham Street Angels, has, notably, kept his distance. As has the town’s MP, Angela Rayner, whom, routinely, appears reluctant to tackle Failsworth’s criminal element and, particularly, their occupation of the darker corners of the internet in her constituency.

Dunkerley is a family friend of FIP’s Chairwoman, Kathleen Wilkinson, and her husband, Cllr Mark Wilkinson. Walsh and Wadsworth remain closely aligned to their Party and the latter is said by well informed locals to have harboured ambitions to be a FIP local election candidate for several years.

This may explain why the return of Failsworth Street Patrol, a significant event locally in anyone’s book, has gone completely unremarked on any of the six Facebook pages run by either their councillors or the Failsworth Independent Party itself.

Their Twitter accounts remain similarly silent and the issue was not brought up as a serious safeguarding concern at the last Full Council by any of the five FIP councillors present at that meeting.

Earlier this year, Kath Wilkinson, Garry Dunkerley and Steve Walsh, along with nine others, all received Anti-Social Behaviour Injunction (ASBI) warning letters over concerns about their behaviour in the public gallery during Oldham Council meetings in June and July, 2022 (read more here).

In an exclusive published on Neil Wilby Media in May, 2022, Dunkerley was exposed as being added to what the Financial Conduct Authority (more usually known by the acronym, FCA) usually call their ‘scammers list’ (read story in full here).

The Failsworth Independent Party, Paul Wadsworth, Angela Rayner, Oldham Council and Greater Manchester Police have been offered right of reply: A particular line of enquiry is connected to the fact that, whilst door-knocking and fundraising, there is anecdotal evidence of claims that they are ‘approved by OMBC and GMP’.

Page last updated Wednesday 30th November, 2022 at 1150hrs

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Picture credits: Manchester Evening News

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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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