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Police treating Batley Working Mens Club blaze as arson

Police investigating a fire at the former Batley Working Mens Club yesterday say they are treating the blaze as arson.

Credit: Kelly Walker

It is believed someone gained entry to the unoccupied premises on Wellington Street around 1.15pm and set the furnishings alight.

Initial enquiries by the fire service suggest the fire has started after a naked flame was used to set light to furnishings inside. We are keen to speak to anyone who has seen anyone entering or leaving the premises or acting suspiciously in the vicinity.

– Detective Constable Sarah Umpherville, of Kirklees District CID

Teenager sexually assaulted and mugged in Batley

An appeal for witnesses has been launched after a 17-year-old girl was sexually assaulted and robbed in Batley.

The incident happened on a footpath near to Lady Ann Road at about 9.30am yesterday (Thursday August 20th).

It is believed the girl was approached from behind by an unknown man while walking on the footpath. He grabbed her and sexually assaulted her before running off with her iPhone.

The suspect was described as a male, 5’6" – 5’7" tall, of slim build, wearing a black jacket and carrying a carrier bag.

I would especially like to speak to a female pedestrian who is believed to have been on either Lady Ann Road or West Street immediately before the assault and may have seen the suspect.

– Detective Inspector Andy Leonard, Kirklees CID


Engineers call off strike at Fox’s Biscuits site

The planned strike at Fox’s Biscuits in Batley by engineering workers has been suspended for a vote on a new pay offer.

Credit: Press Association

Trade union Unite says that the 42 engineers who were due to have staged stoppages for six hours from 04.00-10.00 today and on Thursday over the pay issue, have called off the action.

The engineers at the Wellington Street site were angry at the original 1% offer for the year, starting on 1st August 2014, with a further 2% from 1st August this year.

Now a new offer, based on a one year deal, has been made.

The six hour stoppages due today and on Thursday have been suspended for our members to vote on a further offer from the company. Unite won’t be commenting further until this vote has taken place.

– Sarah Mitchell, Unite regional officer


Police investigate 'targeted gun attacks'

Detectives are investigating what's thought to have been an armed car chase, which entered a hospital car park in Batley.

It was one of two incidents thought to have involved guns, which officers believe are linked.

The chase happened at around 5.56pm yesterday. The two cars - a silver or grey Volvo and a red Audi travelled down Upper Road and onto Halifax Road.

A passenger in the Volvo was seen hanging out of one of the windows. It's thought he was holding a gun. The cars entered the car park at Staincliffe Hospital.

Armed police were then called out to reports of gunshots in Conway Crescent in the early hours of this morning. A black car was seen leaving Conway Crescent around the time of the shots. Officers searched a building, but that was found to be empty.

Police are treating the incidents as targeted attacks and are asking the public to come forward with more information.

Due to the manner in which these two cars were seen driving and the fact they entered a hospital car park, we believe that someone will have witnessed the incident or perhaps made a note of their registration plates, as they nearly caused a collision with other vehicles as they entered Halifax Road.

– Detective Chief Inspector Steve Snow, West Yorkshire Police

Extra patrols have been put in place in the area to reassure the public.

Police and council thank people of Batley

Police and Kirklees Council have thanked the residents of Batley for their support after today's demonstrations in the town centre. Both the EDL and We Are Batley events passed off peacefully with up to 350 EDL members demonstrating outside the town hall and no more than 60 We Are Batley counter demonstrators gathering on the New Way car park. No arrests were made at the demonstration itself.

I want to pay my thanks to the people of Batley for the way they have conducted themselves today. The events have passed off with very few issues and that has been helped by the behaviour of local residents who have not got involved and left managing the events to the police and colleagues at Kirklees Council. Demonstrators have the right to protest and we have to facilitate that right, but both the police and council have worked hard to minimise disruption to residents. Keeping everyone safe and then allowing the town to quickly return to normal has been our top priority.

– Superintendent Ged McManus of Kirklees Police, said:

Kirklees Council staff have worked closely in partnership with local communities, businesses, and police to keep Batley safe and open for business as usual today. Everyone has done a great job – thank you for all your hard work and support.

– Councillor Peter O’Neil, Kirklees Council, Cabinet Member for Communities

Campaigners protest against EDL in Batley

A counter demonstration has been held to counter an English Defence League rally which took place in Batley today.

The Celebration of Unity Event held in Batley Credit: ITV Yorkshire

Organised by Kirklees Unite Against Fascism and Huddersfield TUC, the Celebration of Unity event was described as a "peaceful, anti-racist" gathering with music and speeches.

Batley councillors, politicians, Muslim leaders and the Bishop of Pontefract the Rt Rev Tony Robinson have all signed a Batley Unity Statement opposing the EDL rally.

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