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Arsonists target elderly couple as they sleep

Map shows location of Eldon Street.

Police are appealing for information after a house in Bolton was set on fire whilst an elderly couple slept inside.

The couple, aged in their 80s, were asleep in their home on Eldon Street, Tonge Moor, when they were awoken by the sound of their fire alarm at around 4am today.

They got out of bed to find the living room full of smoke and quickly managed to alert their neighbours by banging on the internal wall of the property.

With help from their neighbours, the couple were able to make it out of the property alive and were taken to Royal Bolton Hospital suffering the effects of smoke inhalation.

The couple are now safe and well and are being cared for by family members.

A joint investigation between police and the fire service is underway to establish the exact circumstances leading up to the fire.

Police say it's believed to be an isolated incident.

“This is a terrible incident and enquiries are ongoing to try and establish who would target such a vulnerable elderly couple.

“We have stepped up police patrols in the area and I would like to reassure everybody in the local community that we believe this to be an isolated incident and a detailed investigation is now underway.

“Understandably the couple who live in the house are very shaken but thankfully they managed to escape the fire, suffering from only minor smoke inhalation and they are now doing much better.

“It is possible that the offenders may have discarded containers used to carry an accelerant or other suspicious items in the local area so if anybody finds anything of this nature then we would very much like to hear from them.

“I would also like to please urge anybody who may have witnessed the fire being started or anything suspicious in the area at the time to please contact the police.”

– Detective Inspector Charlotte Cadden, Greater Manchester Police

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Ten charged in child sexual exploitation investigation

Ten men have been charged as part of an ongoing investigation to tackle child sexual exploitation in Rochdale.

The inquiry centres around sexual exploitation between 2005 and 2013 mainly in the Rochdale area.

The charges relate to offences committed against seven victims who were aged between 13 and 23 at the time of the abuse.

Assistant Chief Constable Ian Wiggett, said:

“This investigation is one of a number of cases which comes under the umbrella of Operation Doublet, which is the continued investigation into Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) that arose following the 2011 investigation into CSE in Rochdale."

Police hunt Salford man who escaped from Lancashire prison

Connor Smith-Macphee. Credit: Greater Manchester Police.

Police are hunting a man from Salford who has escaped from prison.

Connor Smith-Macphee, 21, was jailed for nine years in 2013 for conspiracy to rob, conspiracy to burglary, conspiracy to kidnap, possession of a firearm without authority and possession of a prohibited weapon.

He was recently re-categorised as a Category D prisoner and sent to Kirkham prison.

He fled the jail on February 22.

"Although Smith-McPhee was convicted of very serious offences and has committed a further offence to enable his escape on Friday we do not believe that he currently poses a risk to the general public.

“However, we obviously are keen to locate him, or for Connor to hand himself in to police as soon as possible.

“We believe others may be offering him refuge and those individuals are being warned that they too face possible arrest for shielding him from police.”

– DI Robert Cousen, Greater Manchester Police.
  • Anyone with information about Smith-McPhee's whereabouts is asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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Police search for pregnant woman missing from Oldham

Police are appealing for the public’s help to find a missing woman from Oldham.

Alisha Khan, 19, was last seen at around 12.20am on Saturday 28th February 2015 at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

She has not been seen or heard from since.

She is described as mixed race, slim build, brown eyes and usually has long, dark hair but is believed to currently have blonde hair tied back in a ponytail. She was last seen wearing all black clothing, but is known to have a grey jacket and blue jeans with her.

Alisha is known to frequent the Dukinfield, Wythenshawe and Oldham areas of Manchester.

Detective Sergeant Simon Halliwell said:

“Alisha is 36 weeks pregnant and fainted while out shopping, hence why she taken to hospital.

“She left the hospital without treatment or checks and we are concerned she may have an ongoing condition that could harm her or the baby.

“We’d like Alisha to contact us to let us know she is ok, or alternatively, if you believe you have seen her, please ring the numbers provided.”

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Man dragged along motorway as van stolen

The man was dragged along the M602. Credit: Google Maps

A man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a motorist was dragged along the motorway in an effort to stop his van being stolen.

Police said the 28-year-old victim had pulled his vehicle over to help after seeing an overturned lorry on an M602 slip road just outside Salford, leaving his keys in the ignition - only for the lorry driver to jump into his van and drive off as he clung on.

The victim, who is in a critical condition, was dragged "for some distance" along the motorway before falling off and sustaining serious head injuries, Greater Manchester Police said.

A 43-year-old man is currently in custody in relation to the incident, and police are urging witnesses to come forward.

Detective Sergeant Julie Connor from Salford CID said: “We are keen to trace anyone who witnessed this incident and to recover the stolen VW Caddy van registration number DY14 FPN."

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