“As you can imagine at first, the police were quite concerned about who we were and what we were up to at night, but the community 100% had our backs. Everything we’ve done, the community have supported us.
“It’s going from strength to strength and that’s because of the residents.”
As much as Andy helps others, he receives plenty of love in return, which was never more apparent than when his old dog Sabre died.
He said: “Everybody loved Sabre. He was the boss, the leader of the group. Without Sabre, I wouldn’t have got Crimewatchers off the ground. People really took to him and his nature. We came as a duo. When he passed away, it was really sudden and instant.
“But the community really rallied around me, in an instant they set up a GoFundMe and raised over £2000 for me, so I could get a new companion.
“Shadow is a community dog. He lives with me but I see him as part of the community. Everybody loves him, just as they did with Sabre.
“Somebody attempted to stab me a few nights ago and when I posted that on Facebook it got a lot of engagement – but then a video of Shadow will get two million views. People love him.
“He’s not a working dog. He patrols with us but as a pet.
“When I get called to a job, especially if someone’s being aggressive or there’s a situation, I’d never get him out of the car. He’s not a deterrent, he’ll never bite anybody, he’s not an attack dog.
“Shadow will just sit there, not barking, just watching – he would never do anything, he’s a pet and a mascot and a friend. I’d never put him in danger.”
One of Andy’s fondest memories from his work with Crimewatchers is when he was called out to help an elderly man who had had a fall and couldn’t get up, but was unharmed.
He said: “His Mrs rang us and said it’s not an emergency but she really needed help and didn’t want to call for an ambulance.
“He was at his most vulnerable but they trusted us to come into their home and help, and that is massive for us.
“It was no effort really, we were already out and about, but for him, on the floor and not knowing when he’d be able to get up, it was huge.
“That kind of support – the fact that people can call someone when they can’t get hold of family in the middle of the night and they don’t want to call 999, they know they can ring us. That’s amazing.”
You can find out more about Andy and Crimewatchers with our latest instalment of Local Heroes.
Tameside police officers hailed ‘absolute heroes’ after saving the life of a seven-year-old girl
Two Tameside police officers have been hailed as “absolute heroes” after saving the life of a seven-year-old little girl.
It comes after emergency services were called to an address in the Greater Manchester borough of Tameside earlier this week (29 November), and found a young girl who was struggling to breath and coughing up blood after choking on a sweet.
Police Constables Aaron Kincaid and James Blundell, from Greater Manchester Police‘s (GMP) Tameside division, were first on the scene.
To the huge relief of the girl’s parents, who were said to be “understandably distressed” and concerned for her welfare, PC Kincaid jumped straight into action and was able to utilise his first aid training to full effect by going on to successfully dislodge the sweet from the youngster’s throat, and then helping to calm her down before the paramedics arrived.
Whilst PC Kincaid looked after the little girl, PC Blundell did “everything he could” to help the parents remain calm.
Paramedics then took over once they arrived, and the young girl was taken to hospital as a precaution.
Reflecting on the incident, and hailing his officers “absolute heroes”, Superintendent Mike Walsh, from GMP’s Tameside district, said: “PCs Aaron Kincaid and James Blundell acted without hesitation during the incident, and took control of the situation that they were faced with.
“They deserve every credit for staying calm under extreme pressure and for working together as a team and utilising their training to lifesaving effect, and I’m sure the girl’s parents and family will consider them to be absolute heroes.”
“We’re both glad that we were in the right place at the right time,” PC Kincaid added.
“I have a daughter the same age as the little girl who needed our help, and I cannot tell you how much of a relief it was when she started breathing normally and said she was okay after I had managed to dislodge the sweet.
“The little girl gave me a thank you hug before she went to hospital, but I couldn’t have done what I did without PC Blundell’s assistance, so it was a real team effort.”
Featured Image – GMP
Residents slam ‘shameful’ Christmas tree that ‘looks like it’s been shot’
Residents have been brutally mocking an ’embarrassing’ Christmas tree that has sprung up to spread some festive cheer.
The tree – which has been described as being closer to a twig – stands outside The Hub in Hattersley, and despite efforts to pop a few fairy lights on its sparse branches, locals are still slamming the poor thing.
Tameside Council has promised that a more impressive cut tree will be brought along in time for the area’s Christmas Lights switch-on this week.
But in the meantime, locals have been flooding community groups online with jokes about their current specimen.
One person asked: “Oh dear God. Looks like it’s been shot at – is this for real?” while another said: “That’s got to be a joke.”
Someone else posed the question: “What the sh*tting hell is that?”
One person on Facebook said: “May aswell not have bothered. what an embarrassment.”
Another suggested: “Maybe they felt sorry for it, and didn’t want it to feel left out.”
And one user commented: “Welcome to shameside.”
The skinny little Christmas tree has also been compared by a lot of people to the shambolic fir that popped up in Mottram a few years ago.
Which, er, looked like this, if you were wondering…
Tameside Council has said of Hattersley’s Christmas tree: “It’s a living tree that has been in place for a few years. A cut tree will be supplied for the Hattersley Christmas Lights switch on before it takes place on Friday (1 Dec) from 4 to 8pm.
“We are seeking sponsorship to replace the living tree and will seek a different species to help it thrive in this location.”
Councillor Jacqueline Owen said in the Hattersley Community Group Facebook page that the council had had ‘sadly unsuccessful’ attempts to grow a sustainable tree.