Fear, respect and loyalty made people in Cregan’s area keep quiet as they saw him walk around before handing himself in after two policewomen were murdered on Tuesday.

People said they knew about Cregan, who was wanted after a murder of 23-year-old Mark Short in May and his father on 10 August, but did not dare telling the police, Manchester Evening News writes.

One Hattersley resident told MEN: “I saw him in the pub three or four weeks ago – he had one drink, met a few guys then left. I didn’t tell police because I was too scared.”

A local shopkeeper said the area was lawless. He said: “When someone comes out of prison they get treated like a king around here.

“Kids will be crowding round them in the street. They look up to these people.

“I had my car stolen and everyone knew who it was but they wouldn’t tell me. The kids come in here swearing and trying to buy cigarettes and then their parents come and have a go at me if I refuse them because they’re under age.”

A local man in his 20s said: “I don’t think people didn’t report it because they had a problem with the police, but because they didn’t necessarily think he’d done anything wrong.”

Cregan’s friends told The Telegraph that the 29-year-old had planned to take a boat to Ireland before Fiona Bone, 32, and Nicola Hughes, 23, were murdered with gunshots and grenades.

A friend said the one-eyed murder suspect was not scared of the police that had issued a £50,000 for a tips leading to the arrest of him, and whose hunt for him cost about £150,000 a day.

He told the Telegraph: ‘”He was more worried about friends of the Shorts getting him rather than being caught by the police.

‘”We believe he only gave himself up to avoid being tracked down by them. If the friends of the Shorts had got to him first, god only knows what would have happened.”

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