A 15 year-old army cadet was attacked while he was selling poppies in a city centre.
The teenager was dressed in his cadet uniform was standing by a bus stop next to Manchester Art Gallery in the City Centre when he was assaulted.
He had been selling poppies to raise money for the British Legion and was on his way home. The man who attacked him is described as being of Asian appearance, or possibly black, approximately 5ft 8in tall and dressed in a dark hooded top; he also is described as leaving the scene of the crime without saying a word.
The attacker used an aerosol can and a lighter to create a makeshift blowtorch which he used to blast the army cadet in the face. The teenager was left with singed skin and hairs, but the damage could have been far more serious.
Detective Inspector Liam Boden is appealing for anyone with any information to come forward. He 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.
“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.”
Detective Inspector Boden went on to say that the cadet and his family are in “total shock” and cannot believe anyone would do such a thing. He said: “We need to find whoever 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.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101; alternatively, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.