Three BNP supporters arrested following Heywood and Rochdale protests over child sex ring case

By Dean Wilkins

Three British National Party supporters were arrested after protests in Rochdale and Heywood following the jailing of child sex ring gang members.

Far right-groups organised protests in Greater Manchester over the grooming case and police accused the BNP activists of using diversionary tactics.

Ten BNP supports held a peaceful demonstration in Heywood town centre around 5pm yesterday but around 40 people from Infidels of Britain and the National Front attempt to disrupt a council function at Rochdale town hall.

Superintendent Chris Hankinson, of Greater Manchester Police, said: “[Yesterday’s] events show that far-right groups are now prepared to use different tactics in order to get their views across.

“On this occasion they appear to have planned a separate demonstration in Heywood to draw attention away from a larger event in Rochdale.

“Thankfully they came up against our determined and professional officers who prevented them getting into the town hall where they were clearly intent on causing as much disruption as possible.”

Two men were arrested for a breach of the peace and another for a racially-aggravated public order offence.

Last week nine Asian men were jailed for between four and 19 years from a judge who said they treated five white teenage girls ‘as though they were worthless and beyond any respect’.

Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday said that the Government needs to look carefully at what went wrong with the Rochdale sexual abuse cases.

He said: “It’s a truly shocking case and we need to look very carefully at what went wrong.”

He added: “I think we need to look at why information wasn’t passed more rapidly from children’s homes to police, why action wasn’t taken more rapidly.”

Labour MP Jim Dobbin said that racism is not a problem in Heywood and believes the scenes witnessed on the evening of February 23 this year, when around 200 youths took to the town’s Bridge Street and targeted Asian businesses, were more out of excitement and curiosity than racism.

“I think that once this is all over that we really need to start a-fresh and build good community relations once more,” said Mr Dobbin.

“Some of the young people probably turned up for the excitement. You know, you’ve got 200 kids on the streets in the town and that was the situation.

“It was a bit of nosiness to a certain extent,” he added. “I don’t think there’s a huge problem with racism for most people.”

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