Owen Oyston held over sex-assault allegations

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Owen Oyston, the owner of Blackpool Football Club and former media tycoon, was yesterday arrested in connection with allegations of "serious sexual assaults". Although he was not named in an official statement, police sources confirmed that the ma n arrested in the morning at his home near Lancaster and then questioned at Stretford police station, south Manchester, was the businessman. Greater Manchester police said in a statement: "This morning officers from Greater Manchester police arrested a p rominent businessman, aged 60, regarding allegations of serious sexual assaults."

Mr Oyston made a fortune as an estate agent before branching out. He was prominent in radio and television, at one time controlling Red Rose Radio, the local station based in Preston, Lancashire. He has also had many sporting interests.

Mr Oyston, born in January 1934 in Co Durham, the son a miner, moved with his family to Blackpool at the age of two. He was educated at St Joseph's Catholic school, which he left at 16 to become an actor. He starred briefly as a barrister in Granada's Crown Court before moving to London to fulfil his growing commercial ambitions.

He began as a sewing-machine salesman, but the firm failed. In 1960, Mr Oyston returned to Blackpool, where he founded an estate agency based on a "no sale, no fee" arrangement. By the 1980s it had grown into the largest firm of family-owned estate agents in Britain.

When the property market exploded in 1987, Mr Oyston sold his estate-agents business to the Royal Insurance Group for £30m and became owner of the debt-ridden left-wing News on Sunday in the same year. The paper collapsed six months later but Mr Oyston'snorth-western media empire grew rapidly, with controlling interests spanning Red Rose Radio, Piccadilly Radio, Radio Aire and Red Dragon Radio. Last summer he sold his radio interests to Emap.

As owner of Blackpool Football Club, Mr Oyston recently announced plans for a £130m redevelopment of the grounds.