14 teenagers arrested after transphobic hate crime attacks in Lancaster
Fourteen teenagers have been arrested by police in connection with a serious assault and a transphobic attack in Lancaster.
The teenagers, all aged between 14 and 17 and from the Lancaster and Morecambe areas, have been arrested on suspicion of assault, say police.
The youths were arrested on Wednesday (December 16) and Thursday (December 17) by officers investigating reports of hate crimes in October.
All 14 youths have been released under investigation pending further enquiries.
Lancashire Police have confirmed that the incidents are being treated as hate crimes.
Inspector James Martin of Lancaster Police, said: "These were two particularly shocking and violent incidents where several people, without provocation, were targeted and attacked.
"While we have made a number of arrests I would like to make it clear that we do not tolerate any form of abuse and will work tirelessly to bring those involved to justice.
"Everyone has the right to live free from fear of abuse. Abusing someone simply because of who they are is unacceptable.
"Lancashire Constabulary does not tolerate hate crime and we would encourage anyone who is the victim of prejudice or hostility to contact us."
What has happened and when?
On October 3, at around 10.10pm, a man and woman were walking with friends in Penny Street when they were confronted by a group of youths who began verbally abusing them.
The man, 19, was then punched in the face, suffering a fractured eye socket, while the woman, 20, was also punched before being dragged to the ground and kicked several times.
She suffered a bloodied nose and lip. Both went to Royal Lancaster Hospital for treatment.
At around 9.50pm on October 24, a group of friends were in Williamson Park when they were subjected to verbal abuse and a teenage girl was targeted for transphobic abuse.
During the same incident, a man in his 20s was struck to the back of the head and a teenage girl was then pulled to the ground by her hair and kicked.
A fourth victim – a teenage girl – said she was going to call the police but the group reacted angrily and tried to knock the girl’s phone out of her hand.
She was then pulled to the floor by her hair and dragged into the middle of the road. The male who was struck to his head required hospital treatment.
In total four people were assaulted by the group.
A 17-year-old girl from Lancaster was arrested on suspicion of GBH, ABH and common assault. She was later released under investigation.
What is a hate crime?
Lancashire Police say they are treating this incident as a hate crime. A hate crime is classed as any crime committed that is believed to be based on someone's race, ethnicity, religion or belief, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability.
If you have been the victim of a crime, Lancashire Victim Services can support you. Call 0300 323 0085, chat online or visit www.lancashirevictimservices.org. In an emergency always dial 999.
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