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Man attacks teenage Army Cadet selling Remembrance Day poppies

An Army Cadet suffered burns in an unprovoked attack after selling poppies for Remembrance Day.

The 15-year-old boy was waiting at a bus stop at 6pm yesterday in Manchester city centre when a man approached him with an aerosol can and lighter and sprayed him with lit fumes.

The cadet, who was wearing his camouflaged uniform, suffered minor burns to his face and singed hairs in his face and right forearm, Greater Manchester Police said.

The offender, described as black or Asian, 5ft 8in tall and wearing a dark hooded top, walked off from the bus stop by the Manchester Gallery opposite George Street without saying a word.

Police said that he appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and was staggering.

Detective Inspector 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 minded 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.

"Understandably both he and his family are in a state of total shock and cannot believe someone would do this.

"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."

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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