Man arrested after ‘firebombing’ of council leader’s car

A man has been arrested after the leader of Oldham Council had her car “firebombed”.

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 4:02 pm

Arooj Shah, who is the first Muslim woman to take charge of a council in the north of England, has been supported by MPs and local politicians since the “appalling” attack.

Police were called to the Glodwick area of the town just before 1.30am on Tuesday after reports of a vehicle on fire.

Emergency services arrived and firefighters put out the blaze.

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Emergency services rushed to Greengate Street, Oldham

On Wednesday Greater Manchester Police (GMP) released a statement saying a man, 23, has been arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life.

He remains in custody, and is assisting police with their inquiries, the statement said.

Detective Chief Inspector Wesley Knights of GMP’s Oldham division said: “This fire destroyed a vehicle and caused damage to a neighbouring property.

“It was a reckless, abhorrent act, and it’s fortunate that no-one got hurt.

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“While we have made an arrest, our investigation remains very much ongoing, and I 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.”

After the attack, Jim McMahon, MP for Oldham West and Royton, tweeted: “My solidarity with Cllr Arooj Shah who has been targeted in such a cowardly way.

“The full weight of the law must be seen to bring those accountable to book.”

Councillor Howard Sykes, leader of Oldham Liberal Democrats, said: “This attack is appalling.

“It is a frightening attack on an individual, but it is also demonstrates the threat to people in public life and stops decent people from being involved in it.

“This cannot be allowed to continue, and not only must we stop this criminal attack, but also the abusive approach that has been too much of the politics in Oldham recently, and the UK, in recent years.

“Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity, with respect, and with fairness.

“Abuse and ‘dog-whistle’ politics can have no part in our society.”

Anyone with information should contact police on 0161 856 9059 quoting incident number 0041 of 13/07/2021. Reports can also be made anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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