Updated: Saturday, 22nd February 2020 @ 5:50am

Police attacked by 200 youths in Rochdale as sex-gang are trialled

Police attacked by 200 youths in Rochdale as sex-gang are trialled

By Dean Wilkins

A Greater Manchester policeman is recovering after a mob of 200 youths attacked officers in Heywood, Rochdale, last night.

The violent disorder occurred on Thursday February 23, as groups of youths attacked local takeaways on Bridge Street, surrounding vehicles and threw missiles at police. Forces made numerous appeals to parents to contact their children if they were not home before the clash escalated.

Eleven men from the area are currently on trial in Liverpool Crown Court after being charged with conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with children under 16. Police said there were tensions in the borough following the ongoing court case and the youths involved were reported to be chanting ‘EDL’ (English Defence League) as they left.

Assistant Chief Constable Terry Sweeney said: "Greater Manchester Police, in conjunction with its partners and communities, is aware of the tensions in the borough that have come about because of an ongoing court case in Liverpool.

"I understand that there will be concern following this evening's events and to offer reassurance there is a significant police presence in the area this evening. We will maintain and increase police presence in the coming weeks to keep up our reassurance.

"We ask that the community acts responsibly during this difficult time.

“A number of local businesses have closed of their own volition and we will continue to work closely with them.”

Three police cars were damaged, as well as one member of the public’s, and one officer suffered bruising to his arms and legs.

A 35-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of a public order offence and police assault. A 14-year-old boy was arrested for causing danger to a public highway.

The EDL denied any involvement in the Heywood disorder.

Inspector Steve Clark, Heywood neighbourhood police inspector, said: "There were a number of young children out this evening and I would like to ask that their parents are conscious of this in the coming days and weeks.

"We are monitoring social media sites and ask anybody who is concerned or has information to share with us to go either through their local Neighbourhood Policing Team, Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or by GMP using the 101 service."