Police investigate racist hit-and-run attack in Burnley

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A hit-and-run incident which left a white teenager with a broken leg is being treated as a serious racist assault, police in Burnley said yesterday.

A hit-and-run incident which left a white teenager with a broken leg is being treated as a serious racist assault, police in Burnley said yesterday.

The 17-year-old was struck by a car carrying Asian youths as he walked from Burnley town centre towards the mainly Asian areas of Stoneyholme and Daneshouse, the scene of clashes between Asians and police since Saturday. His 38-year-old friend managed to jump clear and was not seriously injured, police said.

As the pair were walking along the Colne Road shortly after 9pm on Tuesday a light blue saloon car pulled alongside them and the pair were involved in an exchange of "racist" words with four Asians in the car, which was driven off, turned round and steered back towards them.

As the car mounted the pavement outside Bank Hall Nursing Home, the older man jumped clear but the teenager was struck and suffered a broken lower left leg. Police said they have not ruled out bringing charges of attempted murder against those responsible.

As the team of 30 detectives which is examining the weekend's unrest began investigating the incident, the Prime Minister insisted the "hideous influence" of the British National Party – which secured 11.2 per cent of the local vote at the general election – could be no excuse for racial violence in Burnley.

"What we've got to do is make sure that the view of the vast majority ... is the view that prevails, not a few views of those who are engaged in trying to stir up racial violence in a way that is totally unacceptable in this day and age," said Tony Blair during Prime Minister's Questions.

Of Burnley's 92,000 population, 4,000 are Pakistani and 2,000 are of Bangladeshi descent. Most arrived in Britain in the 1970s to work in the textile mills and factories.

Burnley's Deputy Mayor, Rafiq Malik, said high unemployment and rundown conditions stoked the unrest. "There is a feeling of desperation. Unemployment is a big problem – the rate is more than double for young Asians than for whites – and it breeds resentment," Mr Malik said.

Supt John Knowles, of Lancashire police, said the car attack was the only serious incident in a fifth night of sporadic violence and a "gradual return to normality" in Burnley.

The Home Secretary, David Blunkett, launching a £15m crime initiative in one of Britain's largest Asian communities, Brick Lane in east London, underlined the role of parents in stemming race crime said: "It's very, very important to get it out, for example in respect of Burnley, that the parents are very important. It's not good enough just saying that it's because people are black or Asian, it's the messages these people pick up that determine the way they behave."

Comments