McColls’ Manchester arson attack

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Greater Manchester Police (GMP) is appealing to the coach and bus industry for information after three coaches were destroyed in an arson attack.

Operated by McColls of Balloch, the coaches were parked at The White Horse pub car park on Eccles Old Road in Salford when the attack took place in the early hours of Saturday August 11.

Police said a man walked onto the car park and searched a red VW Golf before he went into one of the white Volvo coaches and tried to steal a TV monitor. He then set the coach alight along with two others. A fourth coach was also damaged.

Liam McColl of Dumbartonshire-based firm, said: “It’s a real shock. We’ve been running a lot of school trips down in Manchester over the holidays.

“We had an agreement with the landlord at the White Horse to park the coaches there because we were doing jobs nearby and there is accommodation.

“We were only due to be there for another week or so and then this happens. There was potential for another 10 weeks’ work but I don’t think that will happen now. It’s very disappointing.”

Police say the arsonist, who struck at about 0405hrs on Saturday, was “white and wearing shorts.”

They are keen to trace any witnesses to the incident, in particular the driver of a Ford Transit Connect van which passed the pub at the time of the incident and a milkman believed to have been working locally.

Det Con Jon Marsh, of Salford CID, said: “The cost of this reckless act runs into tens of thousands of pounds and all three coaches have been destroyed as a result.

“The vehicles are used to take children on adventure trips and they are the true victims of this crime. I want to hear from anyone who saw someone wearing shorts and acting suspiciously in the early hours of Saturday morning in the Eccles Old Road, Bindloss Avenue or Half Edge Lane area.”

As of Friday morning, GMP told CBW there had been no progress with the investigation and the force renewed its appeal for information.

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 0161 856 5351, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111. Visit www.gmp.police.uk