Local news reports and the BBC (see also Yahoo News) relate attacks which have taken place on Asian businesses in Rochdale in racially aggravated violence prompted by proceedings in a sex-grooming trial involving local men.
Superintendent Chris Hankinson, speaking to Rochdale Online about the disturbances in the Heywood area, said:
“We are aware of the tensions in the borough that have come about because of an ongoing court case in Liverpool and I am unable to make any comments about this particular case.
I also want to stress once again that all of the business premises involved in the ongoing trial are now under new ownership.
“We have been working with our partners at Rochdale Council and partner agencies to ensure that any businesses or homes that could be targeted as a result of ongoing tensions are provided with crime prevention advice and support.
The BBC reports:
“Gangs of youths have clashed with police after targeting a takeaway business in Greater Manchester.
“Police were pelted with bricks and other missiles in Heywood, Rochdale, on Thursday evening as a takeaway was attacked and four vehicles damaged.
“Eyewitnesses said about 200 youths were in Bridge Street and Market Street, prompting nearby businesses to shut.
“A Greater Manchester Police officer suffered bruising to his arms and legs. A man and a teenager were arrested.
“The man, aged 35, was held on suspicion of a public order offence and police assault and a 14-year-old boy was arrested for causing danger to a public highway.
“A takeaway business had its windows smashed while three police cars and a fourth car were damaged.”
Assistant Chief Constable Terry Sweeney of Greater Manchester Police stated that "A number of local businesses have closed of their own volition and we will continue to work closely with them."
The article continues, “Zeeshan Khokhar, 23, the owner of Bits n Pizza, a takeaway on Market Street, said he had been verbally abused, but his shop was not damaged.
“Mr Khokhar said "white friends" came to his shop to protect him as trouble began in the afternoon.
“He said: "It started about 4pm, kids banging on windows. They were shouting: 'Why are you still open?'
“"The police came and told us to shut up shop. We are just doing business…we are very worried about what's going to happen."
“After officers dispersed the group from Market Street some youths shouted "EDL" - English Defence League - as they left, according to the Press Association.
“The EDL said on its official Twitter account that it had not been involved in the events in Heywood but praised the youths.
“Police said they were monitoring social media sites.”
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