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Police appeal after flare fired at police helicopter

Greater Manchester Police continue to appeal for information after a flare was fired at the police helicopter last weekend.

At around 12.15am on Saturday 4 January 2014 a flare was fired directly into the path of the helicopter as it came into land at Barton airfield – the aircrew confirmed that it appeared to come from the site of the nearby protest camp.

Protesters at the camp initially denied having any involvement in this but comments left on a website now contradict this.

Chief Superintendent Mark Roberts said, “This incident last weekend was absolutely ridiculous and could have ultimately have cost lives. Initially a number of people at the camp absolutely refuted that any protesters were involved yet we now have comments left on a website to the contrary.

“We know that there are people within in the camp who have information about this and I would ask that those people now come forward and tell us what they know.

“The policing operation down at Barton Moss is now in its third month and is likely to continue for the next three months. The officers working down there day in day out have built up a good relationship with the majority of the protesters who come and go from the camp but there is a handful of people who seem set on causing as much disruption as possible to local residents and businesses and seeking confrontation with the police.

“The officers working down there day in day out have built up a good relationship with the majority of the protesters who come and go from the camp but there is a handful of people who seem set on causing as much disruption and aggravation as possible.

“The officers are there to do a job and they do that job well. Our job is to facilitate peaceful protest – irrelevant of what that protest is about. A number of protesters are trying to draw officers into this and to make this a fight against the police. This is not our fight and when officers are abused and stupidly threatened with flares this then detracts away from what the majority of the people are protesting about.

“On Sunday we saw around 500, mainly local people, peacefully protesting in the area and not one arrest was made. It is a small number of people, mainly from other areas of the country, who seem to intent on causing this disruption and distraction.”

Since the start of the protest there have been a total of 58 arrests and the total cost of the policing operation stands at £330k.

If anyone does have any information regarding the flare or any other aspects of criminality they are asked to contact 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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