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'If it happens for days, we'll be out there for days'

Fighting talk on the streets of L8 from those who won't let Toxteth be trashed

Written by . Published on August 9th 2011.

'If it happens for days, we'll be out there for days'

CHAZ Gannicliffe (or Charles Jupiter to his mates) is mobilising a posse on the streets of Liverpool 8. 

The 21-year-old has taken it upon himself to do so - “I just thought I would have a go, why not?” he shrugs, and since late last night he has been harnessing the power of social networking to draw gangs of them, from right across the city, to do his bidding. 

What it looks likeWhat it looks likeHis people got tooled up pretty early on and, from first light, were spotted roaming the streets with him as leader, pushing their way down from Smithdown, through Lawrence Road and all the way into Canning Street. 

On the corner of Bedford Street South he pauses to address around 30 of the largely youthful gathering. He has no plans for a let-up: “If it happens for days, we'll be out there for days,” he insists. 

“These litter pickers you are holding,” he tells them. “they all belong to Asda.” Then adding: “They loaned them to us. Do you want to hand them back to me for now?” 

It's important that we keep our city presentable. If we just leave it, it's only going to get worse

Chaz (main picture, top) works in Bumper, the bar on Hope Street. Perhaps he gets this civic pride from his dad, the late Garry Gannicliffe, who was one of organisers of the highly successful Larks in the Park gigs  in the 1980s.

One thing is for certain, as the cliche almost goes: the world doesn't owe bartender Chaz a pair of Reeboks. Yet he was thinking on his feet at home as soon as violence in south Liverpool sent twitter rumbling into life on a Monday night in August, when nothing ever happens. 

Clean up timeClean up timeBefore you could hit shift F5, Chaz had set up a Facebook group called Liverpool Clean Up, inviting friends of friends of friends to an “event” doing just that from early this morning. More than 400 were immediately "attending", of whom an impressive amount actually turned up. 

“Glass, we've shifted stacks of glass,” he says. “Rubber, metal, we've even cleared up leaves.” 

But why bother, why not leave it to the authorities? 

“It's important that we keep our city presentable." Chaz says. "If we just leave it, it's only going to get worse.” 

Lib Dem Councillor Tom Morrison 'bunch of idiots with no agenda'Lib Dem Councillor Tom
Morrison 'bunch of idiots
with no agenda'
Time was, when you wanted to keep up with the events of a riot, you listened to the radio. Not the traditional sort, mind, but the police kind. It's how canny teenagers knew CS gas cannisters were about to be unleashed by Ken Oxford's hapless force on the angry of Toxteth, 1981. 

Thirty years on you don't need a short-wave set when you've got a Blackberry. Nor do you need to be particularly angry to randomly trash a city. 

One of the group weilding a shovel is the young Lib Dem Councillor Tom Morrison who describes the rioters as “ a bunch of idiots with no agenda.” 

Tesco's Myrtle ParadeTesco's, Myrtle ParadeHe adds: “I've spoken to people living around here today who remember 1981. They say the difference last night was that the kids were laughing. There was nothing to laugh about back then.” 

Meanwhile for Chaz and his ilk, it would seem nipping the impact of a riot in the bud is as simple as organising one – if you know what you are doing, that is.

Something, perhaps, few of us could have predicted in the unsmiling hot summer nights of 81.


*Thursday update: Chaz is to be thanked for his role in instigating the Liverpool clean-up by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool City Council, Frank Prendergast, at a ceremony at the Town Hall, on Friday August 13. 

He  said: “I was so shocked when I get the call that the Lord Mayor wanted to meet me. I never did any of this to get recognition – I just wanted to look after the city I love.”

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10 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousAugust 9th 2011.

This is a brilliant example. Good on you Chaz and everyone who refuses to let these little scumbags drag the city down

JenAugust 9th 2011.

Brilliant, you're a credit to the city and an example to the country of just how great Liverpool really is

Kathryn DaviesAugust 9th 2011.

These people aren't real scousers! They're letting our city down!

Kathryn DaviesAugust 9th 2011.

The thugs I mean, not the great people who keep our city one of the best in the world!

YousefAugust 10th 2011.

Thanks for not using the silly inflammatory and misleading term "riots" once. Everyone else did!

AnonymousAugust 11th 2011.

Just 21 and doing all this. Charles, I knew your recently departed father well, he was another cheeky bugger, and he would be very proud of you indeed. Well done.

Colin CopeAugust 12th 2011.

Thank you for this positive article about young people in Liverpool and well done to the city council for giving this chap some official recognition.

MikeAugust 12th 2011.

There are more good than bad and not all people who seek to defend their environment are "Vigilantes" I hate that expression! "guardians of the good" is a far better description and "Taking the law into their own hands" another strange one We are the people who pay for , and therefore own "the law" and in the absence of those we pay to enforce it , we must strive as citizens, to ensure safety.

AnonymousAugust 12th 2011.

This all proves that if you are in trouble, don't ask a policeman!

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