By Bethany Gleave
A harassed shopkeeper claims he has been forced to start defending his store from marauding kids by chasing them off with a WATER GUN.
Joe Chesworth, who runs e-cig store Just Vapours, felt he had run out of options to deter the ‘feral’ teens and decided to buy a large Super Soaker to keep them away.
With his trusty Super Soaker SP310 Joe is hoping that by shooting water towards them he can deter them from attempting to steal from his shop.
In CCTV footage teens can be seen entering the shop in Hyde, Greater Manchester, and attempting to open a cabinet where e-cigarettes are stored.
But after confronting them Joe whips out the water pistol and squirts a jet of water towards them.
The two boys can then be seen quickly spinning around and racing out of the shop.
Joe claims his idea has been relatively successful at keeping teenagers away – for now.
Joe, 36, said: “On Tuesday they were trying to take things again and so I got the Super Soaker out. They were in shock when it happened.
“I can’t do anything to hurt them obviously so I thought the only deterrent I could use was the water pistol.
“Since I bought the water gun they haven’t really come near the shop again, but I think they are slowly starting to creep back.
“I don’t want to hurt them at all, I just want to deter them from stealing.
“I think the kids are quite shocked when I use the water pistol but most of the time they run away from it and laugh at whoever got wet.”
Joe, who opened his shop almost five years ago, says that gangs of teens began to become a problem around six months ago.
According to Joe, who lives in Bury, Greater Manchester, large gangs of 12 to 18 teenagers had been seen walking the streets and started coming into the store in a bid to swipe stock.
After several months of trying to tackle the problem, Joe decided to buy the Super Soaker just before Christmas.
He settled on an older SP310 he found for £15 on eBay as he claims it is fairly compact but still powerful.
The shopkeeper said: “The kids have been a problem for around six months and it can be a daily thing.
“They can come in big groups of 12 or even 18 of them and it’s really quite intimidating.
“The kids are trying to steal stuff and I’ve had to lock up all my cabinets, which is something I never did before.
“The police do try but as the kids are feral they just run away and the police struggle to catch them.”
In January 2018 the problem with yobs in Hyde increased as residents reported that kids as young as 10 were seen causing trouble on the streets.
Since the spike in anti-social behaviour Greater Manchester Police stepped up patrols in the area and dedicated police officers to areas where they were known to offend.
Inspector Terry Finn, from Hyde Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “The number of incidents reported to us about anti-social behaviour in Hyde has more than halved since January this year.
“This follows positive action by community officers and partners including successfully receiving extra funding for more resources in the area.
“Additional dedicated patrols -which are all briefed before their shift – have been targeting specific areas of the town centre where youths are known to offend.
“Officers have also been successfully using dispersal powers to target those congregating around the town centre, directing them to leave. On occasions when they have returned, arrests have been made and criminal proceedings are currently ongoing for several.
“In addition to this, we have been holding regular police surgeries as well as attending community meetings to speak to the public directly and listen to their concerns.
“I’d like to thank residents and traders for their continued support and I want to make it clear, that we are continuing to do everything we can to prevent any further offences from taking place.”