Teen held over Miss Selfridge arson
Wednesday 10 August 2011
An 18-year-old male has been arrested on suspicion of arson after a Miss Selfridge store in Manchester city centre was set alight.
The fire damage at the clothes shop was among 100 premises targeted by looters and vandals who ran amok last night.
The teenager was detained in the city at about 2pm today and remains in police custody for questioning.
Footage of the suspect torching the shop was widely distributed via the media.
Assistant chief constable of Greater Manchester Police Garry Shewan said: "This is a prime example of how quickly we are working. Only 18 hours after the incident, we have turned around the CCTV and identified someone we want to speak to in connection with this offence.
"We will work just as quickly through all the hundreds of hours of material at our disposal to ensure the right people end up in front of the courts and face justice for their actions."
Police reinforcements from other forces have been drafted in tonight to avoid a repeat of last night's disorder in both Manchester and Salford.
Around 1,000 police were on duty last night - with 800 in Manchester city centre - but those numbers have been bolstered with officers from other North West forces and wider areas joining them.
Manchester returned to some sense of normality earlier as around 200 volunteers gathered at Piccadilly Gardens in the morning where they were equipped with brushes, bags and gloves and sent out to help with the clean-up of the city.
Passers-by in Market Street took pictures of the burnt-out Miss Selfridge shop on their mobile phones while staff at other stores like Nike, Jessops and numerous phone shops and supermarkets tried their best to get back to normal after their front windows had been smashed in.
Around 600 licensed premises were warned to close early yesterday by the Manchester Pub and Club Network but the current advice is to stay open tonight - although it was expected that many would opt to shut.
A spokesman said: "We have had no specific intelligence that we will have something similar again but we will inform our members if that changes."
Forecast heavy rain throughout the day and the evening was also predicted as a factor which may deter the return of the opportunistic robbers.
Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Peter Fahy said officers made a total of 113 arrests.
Police released the first batch of pictures of suspects wanted for the rioting and looting in Manchester and Salford.
The 17 CCTV images were issued as police also appealed for members of the public to send them their own images of the yobs smashing into shops and attacking police.
He said the pictures were "just a few" of the images captured on CCTV and by other means.
"We have a huge amount of other material, we already are at this very moment preparing to go out and arrest individuals," Mr Fahy said.
"We have had at least one individual give himself up because his picture is on Facebook committing crime."
Yesterday, fire bombs were thrown at shops and windows were smashed as looters made off with designer clothes, expensive electrical items, jewellery, mobile phones and alcohol.
Hundreds of rioters, some looking as young as nine or 10, rampaged throughout Manchester city centre and Salford shopping precinct from about 5pm yesterday.
The chaos ensued for hours and calm was not largely restored in both locations until around 1am.
At Salford Shopping City, just 200 yards from a large police station, evidence of the ferocity of the violence could be seen.
Glass from shop windows and bus shelters littered the streets along with house bricks and rubble used to pelt riot police.
Firefighters came under attack on several occasions as they were called to various incidents in the surrounding area.
Members of the public and councillors joined Salford City Council's environmental services team to clean up the mess vandals caused around Salford Precinct.
Mr Fahy described the disorder as "organised and orchestrated" and suggested the trouble in Salford was more violent than the general looting in Manchester city centre, with the copycat rioting being used as an opportunity for "payback" from local criminals towards police.
"We have been giving a hard time to a lot of the organised criminal outfits and various other people we know involved in offending and no doubt some of those saw this as an opportunity to get back at us, and we will be getting back at them," he said.
"Sadly they were the sort of characters we deal with day in day out, they are the sort of people who live on the edge of criminality and who would see organised shoplifting and burglary as part of their day to day occupation."
Greater Manchester Police said it was unable to comment on video footage shown in television reports of riot officers attacking a small group of suspected troublemakers because they were as yet unaware of the background which led to the incident.
Elsewhere, it emerged there was an outbreak of violence in Bacup, Lancashire, at about 11.30pm yesterday.
Police said they received reports of a large group of youths in the town centre as damage was caused to the Conservative Club, a takeaway and a disused building.
A spokeswoman for Lancashire Constabulary said: "Members of the local community reported that the youths were in possession of some kind of weapon, however police cannot confirm this at this time.
"A 24-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy from Bacup have been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and a public order offence.
"Both are currently in custody."
Officers from Salford City Council and its housing provider, Salix Homes, are reviewing the CCTV images to see if they can help identify any of the offenders - with threats to evict tenants if they are found to have been involved.
Council leader John Merry said: "Anyone who can do this to their own city is not welcome in Salford.
"We need to make sure these people understand their actions do have consequences, and the consequences for some of them could mean they lose their homes.
"This is not a decision we take lightly, but we really must take a stand. I would urge anyone who can identify any of the people responsible to work with us and the police to bring these criminals to justice."
Kevin Scarlett, chief executive of Salix Homes said: "Some of our tenants have been involved in the looting and we have identified them through CCTV footage. Arrests are being made today and we will follow this up with any appropriate legal action including eviction.
"We will not tolerate this unacceptable behaviour, particularly when it is affecting the lives of the many law-abiding people in Salford."
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