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Whaley Bridge: A town divided after fatal shooting of suspected teenage burglar

Whaley Bridge has been left divided following the fatal shooting of a suspected teenage burglar.

Police were called to reports of a burglary at a property in Eccles Road at around 1.20am last Tuesday.

At the scene a man was found to have sustained fatal gunshot wounds. He was later identified as Marcus Smith, 19, of nearby Chapel-en-le-Frith.

A second man, who is in his teens, was found with a gunshot wound nearby in the same road. He remains in hospital, but his injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

Farmer Robert Lomas, named locally, has been arrested on suspicion of murder and attempted murder and remains in police custody.

Officers have been granted further time to quiz the arrested man in connection with the murder.

Three men who have been arrested in connection with the burglary have also now been bailed as investigations continue.

Friends have organised a fundraising campaign to pay for the dead teenager's funeral - a move which has upset many in the town.

The fundraiser organised by Tyler Arnfield had raised nearly £10,000 by this weekend. 

He said: "As many of you may have heard, Marcus Smith was involved in a tragic incident on the Wednesday.

"He was a kind, loving and warm-hearted lad, who was special to so many people. He will forever be missed but kept in so many people’s hearts.

"We want to do everything we can to help, including helping raise funds for his funeral costs.”

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A walk is planned up Kinder Scout on Saturday, May 25, with people meeting at Edale station.

Tyler said: “We also urge you to make a donation to give Marcus the funeral he deserves."

Out of the scores of people who have donated to the fund, one said: “You had a heart of gold & were fiercely loyal to those you loved. Loved by so many we will never forget you.”

Another added: “Gone too soon but will never be forgotten, thoughts are with all the family.”

 Smith was a former pupil at Chapel-en-le-Frith High School in Derbyshire and a footballer who had played for local club Chapel Town FC.

The Shoulder of Mutton pub posted a public tribute on social media which read: "Myself and all the staff at the Shoulder of Mutton, Chapel-en-le-Frith would like send our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family and friends of Marcus Smith.

"He was a resident DJ here and we are devastated at your loss. He was much-loved by everyone who met him, he was a funny, polite, well-mannered, charming young man who will be missed by everyone, our thoughts, wishes and prayers to you all."

However, many others in the Peak District town do not share those views.

On Monday, one resident told the Chronicle: "Our community is very torn with people slinging insults on both sides.

"I find it very sad that someone so young has ultimately lost their life and has got mixed up in this sort of thing.

"But, that being said, I don't have any ill feeling towards the farmer either."

Another said: "I'm afraid I have very little sympathy. I'll fight anyone to the death who tries to break into my property."

Someone else added: "The lad was local, which makes it very difficult as there are family and friends of him locally who are grieving and now taking that out on the farm owner and also family and friends of the property owner on both sides."

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