A GANG who caused havoc and brought terror to Hyde town centre is believed to have come from outside the area.
Four balaclava-clad members on two motorbikes, seemingly brandishing a baseball bat and a pair of bolt cutters, brought chaos to the area on the afternoon of Friday, August 25.
Footage posted online shows shoppers looking on in horror as they speed around the stalls, confronting one man before tearing off.
That led to Greater Manchester Police imposing a section 60 dispersal order and implementing extra patrols in Hyde town centre.
But Inspector Toby Knight has told MP Jonathan Reynolds he believes those responsible were not local.
In a statement, he said: “Initial work has provided evidence that these offenders are not local to the Tameside area and I can say this with a reasonable degree of certainty.
“Compared to 2022, the number of motorbike and moped thefts are significantly reduced, which does suggest that a significant part of our issue with these motor vehicles is coming to us from other districts.
“Like everyone who saw it online or was there, I was shocked and disappointed that a small minority of youths felt that it was appropriate to behave in that manner.
“Joint work is ongoing with colleagues from this district alongside our Specialist Operation branch in order to target those who ride these motor vehicles and commit various offences.
“The force is providing additional support to target these offenders with specially trained officers being deployed.
“Whilst we have had our issues with off road bikes and mopeds it is a national issue and certainly present all over the force.
“As a neighbourhood team we have been particularly successful in removing these bikes from offenders before they get on the road with 15 seizures since the end of last year.
“We will continue to work hard in order to deter this type of behaviour.”
Inspector Knight, of the Tameside South and West Neighbourhood Team, also suggested the police will get stronger powers to combat anti-social behaviour in Hyde town centre.
He also praised the force’s response to the incident.
He added: “I can reassure you that this is not a regular occurrence and is in my view a one-off incident.
“Officers from my team have already started to investigate with a view to identifying those offenders and obtaining a charge from the Crown Prosecution Service.
“Our normal Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) comes from youths hanging around the market rather than youths on motorbikes and mopeds.
“Secondly, the policing response was rapid and sustained with officers arriving within a few minutes and the authorisation of powers around stop and search and dispersal being swift.
“This has prevented any re-occurrence and I’ve no doubt that you will see an increased policing presence around the town as a visible deterrent.
“There has been discussion with our council partners around having some additional powers within the town centre to provide officers and staff with stronger legislation to better deal with ASB.
“I am hopeful that this will give the team the opportunity to drive down ASB and encourage more people into the town.”