16 arrested over attack on war veteran

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The Independent Online

Police investigating the brutal assault of an elderly war veteran in his own home arrested 16 men today.

Bob Schofield, 89, was left bloodied and bruised after confronting intruders who broke into his house in Salterforth, Lancashire.

Mr Schofield was at home with his wife, Mollie, 87, when the couple were disturbed from their sleep.

They were found hours later bleeding on the floor at their cottage on Monday.

Officers made the arrests in an operation in the Blackpool area.

The men, aged between 17 and 55, were held on suspicion of conspiracy to commit burglary and are being interviewed at police stations in Burnley and Blackburn.

Acting Detective Inspector Dave Groombridge, who is leading the investigation, said: "We have arrested a number of people this morning and we will be interviewing them during the course of the day.

"Having said that I would still appeal for anyone who may have information about this dreadful offence to come forward and speak to us, including those in the criminal fraternity who may be able to help.

"We do have a number of lines of inquiry which we are actively pursuing."

The couple were both taken by ambulance to Airedale Hospital in Keighley, West Yorkshire, where Mr Schofield remains.

Mrs Schofield is being cared for at a nearby care home.

Both are said to be improving slowly.

Mr Schofield served in the Royal Navy on the notorious North Atlantic convoys taking aid to Britain's allies in Russia.

He battled mountainous seas and enemy attack crewing escort ships on the missions across the North Sea from Scapa Flow to Murmansk.