Gangs Clash With Police In Rochdale

24 February 2012, 08:25

Police have stepped up patrols in the Heywood area of Rochdale following violent disturbances which saw officers pelted with bricks and a takeaway smashed up.

A Greater Manchester Police officer suffered bruising to his legs and arms during the trouble which erupted yesterday. 

Windows were damaged at a fast food outlet, believed to be an Asian takeaway business, in Bridge Street, while three police vehicles and a car belonging to a member of the public were also damaged.

A gang of around 200 youths congregated in the Bridge Street and Market Street area of Heywood yesterday afternoon before the trouble flared, with police dispatching a number of vans and dog units to the scene.

Shops and takeaways closed and their steel shutters lowered before trouble-makers threw missiles at policemen and nearby vehicles.

A man and a teenager have been arrested.

The violence coincides with an on-going trial 

Assistant Chief Constable Terry Sweeney said police were aware of "tensions in the borough'' and that there would be "concern'' among locals following the trouble.

He said: "We will maintain and increase police presence in the coming weeks to keep up our reassurance.

"We ask that the community acts responsibly during this difficult time.

"We are monitoring social media sites and ask anybody who is concerned or has information to share with us to go either through their local Neighbourhood Policing Team, Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or by GMP using the 101 service.''

Zeeshan Khokhar, 23, owner of Bits n Pizza, a take-away on Market Street, said he was verbally abused though his shop was not damaged.

Mr Khokhar said "white friends'' came to his shop to protect him as trouble began brewing.

He said: "It started about 4pm, kids banging on windows. They were shouting.

"The police came and told us to shut up shop.

"We are just doing business.

"Our white friends, they came here and they are protecting us and customers were standing outside our door.

"They said we have just come to keep an eye on you. But it's not good, it hurts and we are very worried about what's going to happen.''

Inspector Steve Clark, neighbourhood police inspector for Heywood said: "There were a number of young children out yesterday evening and I would like to ask that their parents are conscious of this in the coming days and weeks.''

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