As part of Greater Manchester Police‘s (GMP) ongoing ‘Operation Vulcan’ – which is a mission to crackdown on the sale of counterfeit and hit the finances of the gangs operating out of the Cheetham Hill and Strangeways areas of Manchester – officers were on patrol in the Cheetham Hill area this past Sunday (18 December) when they saw a man in his 60s trying to close the shutters of a premises on Great Ducie Street.
After determining the man was “acting suspiciously”, officers moved to detained him, before they then unlocked the doors of the premises and group of customers ran out.
GMP explained that, once the officers were inside the premises, officers found more members of the public locked inside a further three rooms on the second and third floor, with the number of trapped shoppers eventually totalling more than 50.
They had been “locked in against their will” when the man had spotted the police, GMP confirmed.
As if that wasn’t bad enough as it is, during an initial search of the premises, officers also found excessive amounts of rat urine and faeces littered across the building – including on the shelves and all over clothing, underwear, and makeup that was being sold at the store.
Then, in the basement of the premises, officers say they couldn’t see the floor for boxes and bags full of items, and they even found “incredibly dangerous infrastructure” and “signs of exploitative labour” too, such as an underground air conditioning system the staff had made by drilling holes into the pipes on the ceiling.
The Operation Vulcan team began a thorough search of the building, and two days later, they’re just finishing bagging items.
So far, an estimated 27tonnes of replica clothing, shoes, perfumes and make up have been seized.
“The state of this building was disgusting and so structurally unsafe,” explained Detective Superintendent Neil Blackwood.
“My team found members of the public trapped on the top floor with no means of escape, and this isn’t the first time we’ve had to rescue members of the public from these buildings, but I urge people to think twice about entering these shops.
“With our presence increasing, the shop owners are becoming increasingly nervous and quick to lock the doors, no matter who is inside.
“By entering these shops, not only are you putting yourself in danger and at risk of the volatile staff, but you’re funding serious organised crime which is having a devastating impact on the local community.
“These people do not care for your welfare – they’re simply trying to make some quick cash.”
Featured Image – GMP
‘Sad news’ – the world’s only Vagina Museum has been forced to close
There’s a museum for just about everything these days (we all remember trips to the Stockport Hat Works museum) – but the world’s only space dedicated to vaginas has been forced to close again.
The world-first Vagina Museum announced this week that it’s had to vacate its premises and has once again been left ‘homeless’.
The museum, which welcomed 40,000 visitors in the 10 months it was open, was founded to raise awareness of the gynaecological anatomy and health, erase stigma, and act as a forum for feminism.
Inside, visitors could browse everything from educational materials to art pieces inspired by vaginas and vulvas – including giant tampons decorated in red sequins.
The Vagina Museum said it was ‘disappointed’ that it has been asked to leave its space, adding that it will continue to operate digitally until it finds a new base.
They wrote in a heartfelt statement on social media that they were ‘incredibly proud’ of the museum’s achievements.
Fans of the space queued down the street for its final few days in Bethnal Green, before its eventual closure on Wednesday 1 February.
Their statement said: “Sad news. We’ve received notice to vacate our premises at Bethnal Green by the end of this week. As a property guardianship, we’ve always been aware that we may be asked to leave with very short notice. We’re disappointed that it has come so soon.
“@Enter_theVenue the creative hub with whom we share our space, have also been asked to leave. The Vagina Museum will continue to operate in the digital world as we search for a new home.”
The message continued: “We’re sad about this development, but incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished in the ten months we’ve been at our Bethnal Green premises. We’ve welcomed more than 40,000 visitors through our doors, and received so much love and positive feedback.
“In our time at Bethnal Green, we’ve once again demonstrated just how much the world needs and wants a Vagina Museum.
“Times are, once again, uncertain for us, but we’ve been through this before and risen stronger than ever. With a community like you supporting us, we know we can get through this too.
“We’re actively searching for a new home, and if you know of any vacant spaces (or have one yourself!) please don’t hesitate to reach out. In our home in Bethnal Green, we and ENTER demonstrated that we can transform an empty, unused building into a thriving heart of a community.
“If you don’t have a building, you can still help! Please consider making a donation; a donation of any size makes a huge difference and will help us to weather this storm, just as we’ve weathered storms before.”
The Vagina Museum concluded its thread with: “We’ve made it through a pandemic and a period of temporary homelessness before. With you, together, we can make it through this too.”
Gary Neville addresses ‘clumsy like’ on Tweet about Mason Greenwood ￼
Gary Neville has said that his liking of a tweet about Mason Greenwood has been ‘misinterpreted’.
The former Manchester United legend and football pundit set off a Twitter storm last night after he ‘liked’ two tweets by Nazir Afzal, and briefly retweeted one.
The tweets in question said that Greenwood was an ‘innocent man’ and added that ‘you are innocent until PROVEN guilty’.
Mason Greenwood had all criminal charges against him dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service.
He had faced allegations of rape, controlling and coercive behaviour, and assault, all against the same woman.
The CPS said that Greenwood case had been stopped because of ‘the withdrawal of key witnesses and new material that came to light’, adding that there was no longer a ‘realistic prospect of conviction’.
Several people noticed that Neville had liked a tweet about Greenwood’s ‘innocence’ and quickly challenged him on it.
One person shared a screenshot and wrote: “You have a massive platform and you’re liking bulls**t like this just because the monster plays for a team you support. you’re disgusting @GNev2.”
He posted: “I liked a tweet relating to the Mason Greenwood news this afternoon from Nazir Afzal. ( the former director of public prosecutions ).
“This like is being misinterpreted. It was a clumsy like as I obviously condemn any violence against women.”
Greenwood issued a short statement yesterday, writing: “I am relieved that this matter is now over and I would like to thank my family, loved ones and friends for their support. There will be no further comment at this time.”
Featured image: Instagram, @garyneville2 / publicity picture