Warning As Students Become Targets Of Organised Crime 'Kidnapping Gang'
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Students have been warned to be extra vigilant following a spate of kidnappings and robberies during the first weeks of the new university term.
Police have revealed that an organised crime gang has been kidnapping and robbing people during nights out in Manchester city centre, with all four victims identified as students.
As reported by the Manchester Evening News (MEN), officers say victims have been 'lured into a vehicle’ and driven to unfamiliar locations, before being attacked and robbed of their mobile phones and bank cards.
Greater Manchester police are linking four incidents - which took place during freshers' week in September - with Detective Leon Cawley-Bowyer, who is leading the investigation, describing all four victims as 'intoxicated students' who were 'unfamiliar with their surroundings'.
Victims were reportedly targeted around student areas and The Gay Village with gang members luring targets into the vehicle in different ways. It’s understood the most common tactic was to invite a male victim back to a hotel or house for an ongoing party.
An investigation into the incidents was launched under Operation Valiant, the force's anti-robbery unit, from the City of Manchester division and has now resulted in the arrests of three individuals, two aged 19 and one aged 17.
However, police are continuing to appeal to anyone who may have been a victim of the gang but has not reported it to come forward.
Speaking to the MEN, Detective Cawley-Bowyer said: "I believe there could well be more victims of this who may be concerned about coming forward for whatever reason.
"I would ask if anyone else has been a victim to speak to us and report it via 101 or via the online reporting facility."
Posting on Twitter, GMP wrote: "Op Valiant had a successful arrest this morning of two males who are suspected of being part of an organised gang committing kidnapping and robberies against revellers enjoying the night life.
"Victims were lured into a vehicle before crimes were committed. When out please stay with others.”
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