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12 arrested after investigation into 'horrendous' axe attack

Police targeted 11 addresses across the borough this morning Credit: PA

Twelve people have been arrested in a series of dawn raids across Rochdale.

It's part of an investigation into an axe attack in October 2017, where a man suffered serious hand injuries.

Police targeted 11 addresses across the borough this morning. 11 men and one woman were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm.

They remain in custody for questioning. 

A 19-year-old man was left with life changing injuries after being brutally attacked with an axe and today’s raids are hopefully a step towards finding those responsible and showing people how seriously we take these violent crimes.

– Superintendent John-Paul Ruffle

Anyone with information should contact police on 101 quoting incident number 1398 of 17/10/17, or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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Man charged with murder of Mohammed Aftab

Mohammed Aftab Credit: Manchester Evening News

A man has been charged with the murder of Mohammed Aftab, who died of multiple head injuries and stab wounds on Christmas Day. The 21-year old’s body was discovered on Dyehouse Lane in Rochdale at around 8.15 on the morning of 25th December.

Jason Byrnes, 26, of Waithlands Road, Rochdale, is due to appear at Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court charged with murder.

Mohammed's family have paid tribute to him in a statement released by Greater Manchester Police.

"This has been a devastating loss to all the family. Aftab had respect and love for people from all walks of life. You see these things happen to other people but can never comprehend it when it happens to you. We all loved him from the bottom of our hearts and will miss him."

– Altaf Hussain, Mohammed's father

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Lorry load of cannabis found on fire near Rochdale

The lorry was discovered near Rochdale Credit: GMP

Police are investigating after a lorry load of cannabis was found on fire on a road near Rochdale.

Officers were called after a "large amount of fumes" came from the blaze in the trailer of the articulated lorry, found on fire on a country road in the Pennine hills.

When firefighters put the fire out, the cannabis was discovered inside.

The fire service had been called at 10.36pm last Sunday to reports of the fire on the Huddersfield Road (A640) near Cherry Top Farm outside Rochdale.

But the blaze was discovered after the driver of the Volvo lorry turned up at a takeaway two miles away in Shaw, Oldham, with serious facial injuries. He said he had been assaulted and his vehicle had been stolen. When police and fire services got to the lorry, they found the vehicle on fire and cannabis inside the trailer.

A 52-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply class B drugs but has since been released without charge. Officers are appealing for anyone with information to come forward.

Credit: GMP

This is a very unusual and complex case and we still have a number of unanswered questions so I want to stress the importance of people contacting us if they know anything.

We're examining every piece of information that we have to establish what exactly has happened and are particularly interested in the events leading up to the robbery and how the lorry came to be on fire.

– Detective Inspector Joanne Reid, Greater Manchester Police

Anyone with information should contact police on 0161 856 8457 quoting reference number 2110 of 17/12/17 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Council leader resigns ahead of 'no confidence' vote

Richard Farnell who has resigned as Leader of Rochdale council Credit: ITV Granada

Richard Farnell has stood down as the Leader of Rochdale Council. He's faced calls to quit since recent evidence he gave to the national public inquiry into allegations of child abuse at Knowl View School.

Councillor Farnell has always denied knowing about it. He'd been due to face vote of no confidence at a council meeting on Wednesday.

Councillor Richard Farnell has resigned from his position as leader of the council with immediate effect. There are two deputy leaders who will assume his responsibilities until the council has an opportunity to appoint a new leader.

– Steve Rumbelow, chief executive of Rochdale Borough Council
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