Army Cadet blasted in face with makeshift blowtorch after selling poppies in Manchester city centre
The 15-year-old, who was wearing his camouflaged uniform, suffered burns when a man attacked him with an aerosol can and a lighter near Manchester Art Gallery.
The 15-year-old, who was wearing his camouflaged uniform, was waiting at a bus stop next to Manchester Art Gallery, opposite George Street in Manchester, when a man approached him with an aerosol can and a lighter.
The attacker used the items to make a makeshift blowtorch and sprayed lit fumes at the Cadet, who had spent the day in the city centre selling poppies and collecting money to commemorate Armistice Day.
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The teenager, who had been looking down Princess Street at the time of the unprovoked attack, suffered minor reddening to his face and singed hairs on his face and right forearm.
The offender, who walked off without saying a word, is described as being black or Asian, 5ft 8in and wearing a dark hooded top. He appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and was staggering, police said.
Detectives are ‘keeping an open mind’ about the motive of the attack, which happened yesterday at 6pm.
They have appealed for anyone with information to come forward.
Det Insp Liam Boden said: “This is an absolutely appalling attack on a young man who was raising money to help remember all those who gave their lives fighting bravely for their country.
“At this stage of our inquiries, we’re keeping an open mind as to what motivated the offender to commit such an act.
“Given the initial description we have of the offender, it may be that he was under the influence of something but whatever his motivation, his violent actions could have scarred this young man for life.
“Although he has suffered some minor injuries, it is pure luck that he did not sustain more serious burns to his face and body."
Det Insp Liam Boden added that the Cadet and his family were in ‘total shock’ and could not believe anyone would do such a thing.
He said: “We need to find whomever is responsible for this crime and I would therefore appeal to anyone who has information that could help.
“This happened at a very busy time in the city centre, near a main bus route, and there could be lots of people who saw this man staggering around.“If you do have information then please come forward.”