NORTHWICH and Winsford youths involved in ‘arranged fights’ have been caught with weapons including knives and hammers in recent weeks.

A letter sent out to parents by police has warned that criminal charges will be brought against the minority responsible for fights in Winsford and Moulton on July 1 and 6.

Three 14-year-old boys have been arrested and bailed as part of the investigation thus far, with one boy attending a voluntary interview and 11 anti-social behaviour letters issued.

Another meeting between two groups was disturbed by an increased police presence, and a Northwich inspector is urging parents to make sure their children are not involved.

In a stark warning letter, Inspector Andy Smith wrote: “I want to stress that this is something that reaches beyond any schools internal discipline processes.

“Those involved need to understand this is not something that will be dealt with via a detention or any other school-based discipline.

“Rivalry between young people in our communities is nothing new. However it’s clear the violence being used and weapons involved takes this to a new level.

“You will have all seen or heard about the tragic cases in the media recently where young people have died. Please don’t think that only happens in large cities.

“Given the weapons taken to all three incidents by some young people in these groups, this could have happened to one of your children. Even if they simply went along to spectate.

“As the officer responsible for Operational Policing in Winsford and Northwich I will not stand by and watch young people hurt each other, and expose other people in the community to such shocking levels of violence.

“Community safety is our priority and anyone involved can expect to be arrested, their parents called to the custody facility, then interviewed and bailed.”

Insp Smith said a youth was taken to hospital with a fractured cheekbone after being hit with a weapon in Winsford town centre on Monday, July 1, and that interviews had been conducted under caution before a file is prepared for the Crown Prosecution Service.

In Moulton, on Saturday, July 6, two youths were arrested on suspicion of being in possession of a knife, hammer, cosh and metal seat post.

Insp Smith said anyone with information could contact Cheshire Police on 101 quoting IML 453650, or contact crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111,

He added: “I ask that you please take the necessary measures to ensure that your child has no involvement in any future disorder.

“The school and local council offer various support services if your family needs them.

“I can only repeat that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated and any future incidents will be dealt with robustly.”