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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Stephen Topping

Second man arrested over firebombing of Oldham council leader's car

A second man has been arrested after a car belonging to Oldham council's new leader was set on fire.

Colleagues spoke of their shock and disgust as they rallied to support Coun Arooj Shah after her car was firebombed in the early hours of Tuesday morning (July 13).

Greater Manchester Police have been investigating the fire and have arrested a second man in connection with the incident.

READ MORE: Trail of destruction as car smashes into parked vehicles before man 'rips off number plates and runs away'

Officers were called just before 1.30am on Tuesday to reports of a vehicle on fire on Greengate Street, Oldham.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service attended, along with police, and it was established that the vehicle was deliberately ignited - also causing slight damage to a nearby property.

The fire was extinguished, no-one was injured and investigations are ongoing, GMP says.

A 22-year-old man has now been arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life and is currently in custody for questioning.

Meanwhile, a 23-year-old man who was arrested on Wednesday in connection with the fire has since been bailed with conditions.

Detective Chief Inspector Wesley Knights, of GMP's Oldham division, said: "This second arrest hopefully sends a message that we will not rest until the circumstances around this incident are fully understood, and we have found and brought to justice those responsible for this reckless act.

"Our investigation remains very much ongoing, and we are pursuing a number of lines of inquiry.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank the community for their co-operation so far, and would like to appeal to anyone who may have witnessed anything, or have any information surrounding this fire to please contact police as soon as possible."

Councillor Arooj Shah addresses full council (Oldham council)

Coun Shah was appointed leader of Oldham Council following May's local elections, when former leader Sean Fielding lost his seat.

Addressing the firebombing at a council meeting this week, Coun Shah said: “The last 24 hours have been very difficult and I can’t say the attack outside my family home hasn’t affected me and the people I love, because it has.

“But what I am clear about is, whoever was responsible, and for whatever reason, I will not be diverted from the task in hand.

“Our town is facing some of its biggest challenges yet and as we emerge from Covid the fragile nature of our economy and society will be tested to the limits.

“My sole focus is on the town and its people. I came into public life because I demand better for every man, woman and child here.

“To realise better will require all the energy that I, and everyone in this chamber, and more widely, all the council and partners have in us.”

Anyone with information should contact police on 0161 856 9059 quoting incident number 0041 of July 13, 2021.

Reports can also be made anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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