“If you want to write about Wigan, write about that guy over there – he’s the local crackhead and he just killed a pigeon,” says a teenager in the town centre near the Grand Arcade Shopping Centre.

A middle-aged man clutching a white bag looks up and grins, flapping his arms like a bird. “He just smacked it and put it in that bag. He says he is going to cook it and eat it for dinner.”

Fresh lean protein is not the norm in Wigan. The local delicacy is a pie barm – a meat-filled pastry served in a buttered bread roll.

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