Thousands of train passengers in Manchester experienced rail delays yesterday after a helium balloon got tangled up in 25,000-volt overhead electric cables.
Network Rail said that the cables power trains across Manchester city centre, and images released by the organisation showed the large foil balloon caught in cables with Beetham Tower in the background.
Rush-hour trains between Manchester Oxford Road and Warrington Central stations were hit by delays as engineers worked to free the balloon, and the line – which is one of the busiest in the region – was closed and the electricity supply switched off.
The incident prompted Network Rail to issue an urgent warning.
The organisation said that “while helium balloons are fun, they pose a real safety and performance risk to the railway”.
In a statement issued on the incident, Network Rail explained: “The foil balloon got caught on the high-voltage overhead wires, delaying trains travelling between Manchester Oxford Road and Warrington Central.
“Engineers had to close the line and switch off the electricity which powers trains through one of the busiest railway corridors in the country so the balloon could be safely removed.”
Phil James – Network Rail’s North West Route Director – added: “Fortunately, our engineers quickly removed this balloon before it could seriously delay passengers and freight [but] while helium balloons are fun, they pose a real safety and performance risk to the railway.
“Please keep helium balloons away from the railway.”
Network Rail also revealed that helium-filled balloons cause dozens of train delays for passengers across Britain each year, with more than 600 balloon-related incidents across England, Scotland and Wales having been recorded over the last 10 years.
Featured Image – Network Rail
Man arrested on suspicion of rape and robbery after entering woman’s apartment through the window
A man has been arrested on suspicion of rape and robbery after a horrific incident in Hulme.
GMP has been investigating since a man broke into a woman’s apartment through a window at around 5am on Thursday 29 November.
He threatened her at knifepoint before raping her.
In a short update, GMP said: “A man has been arrested on suspicion of rape and robbery. He remains in custody for questioning.”
The man entered the victim’s home on Wilmott Street, on the outskirts of the city centre, through an ‘insecure window’.
Detective Superintendent David Meeney, of GMP’s City of Manchester district said last week: “We are following several lines of enquiry and will have extra patrols in the area over the next few days.
“Offences of this nature are very rare, and this is being treated as an isolated incident. There are detectives working around the clock to identify the male responsible and the victim is receiving specialist support.
“We are urging people in the area to be vigilant and to make sure their doors and windows are secure, especially during the late evening and through the night.
“If anyone has any information regarding this incident, or if they see any suspicious activity in the area, please report this to officers in person or by calling 101 quoting 726 of 29/11/22. If it is an emergency, always dial 999.”
If you or someone you know has been raped or sexually assaulted, we encourage you not to suffer in silence and report it to the police, or a support agency so you can get the help and support available.
Saint Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre, Manchester provides a comprehensive and co-ordinated response to men, women and children who live or have been sexually assaulted within Greater Manchester. They offer forensic medical examinations, practical and emotional support as well as a counselling service for all ages. Services are available on a 24-hour basis and can be accessed by calling 0161 276 6515.
Greater Manchester Rape Crisis is a confidential information, support and counselling service run by women for women over 18 who have been raped or sexually abused at any time in their lives. Call on 0161 273 4500 or email [email protected]
Survivors Manchester provides specialist trauma informed support to male victims in Greater Manchester who have experienced sexual abuse, rape or sexual exploitation. Call 0161 236 2182.
Featured image: Google Maps
14 arrests made after animal rights protesters target £195-a-head Michelin-star restaurant Mana
Animal right protesters targeted Mana, one of Manchester’s most prestigious restaurants, this weekend, leading to 14 arrests.
Activists from Animal Rebellion staged the sit-in protest at Mana in Ancoats, the city’s only Michelin star restaurant, saying they targeted it for its ‘meat-heavy menu’ and the fact it doesn’t cater to vegans.
The protest saw people occupy the renowned restaurant on Saturday evening, calling for a ‘Plant based future’.
The restaurant has said that guests, who will have paid £195 per person for the set menu, had their bookings delayed by up to three hours because of the disruption.
Protesters sat down at the tables inside Mana and pulled out their own menus, which outlined a vision for a plant-based food system and the re-wilding of space used for animal agriculture.
GMP were called to reports of the disturbance on Blossom Street at around 7.20pm on Saturday 3 December, and subsequently arrested 14 individuals on suspicion of aggravated trespass.
All have been released on bail.
Superintendent Ian Jones of GMP’s City of Manchester district, said: “Though this wasn’t a large-scale protest, we understand it caused some disruption in and around the area of Blossom Street last night so would like to thank members of the public and businesses for their patience whilst we responded to the incident in the most appropriate way.
“GMP respects the right of people to protest peacefully and so will always, in the first instance, engage with organisers and demonstrators to facilitate this – as per national guidance.
“It is, however, our responsibility to prevent and investigate crime, and keep people safe. In this case, and following engagement attempts, the most appropriate course of action was to make arrests.”
Animal Rebellion wrote on Twitter: “Supporters of Animal Rebellion continue to occupy luxury restaurant Mana in Manchester to demand an end to climate chaos, inequality and animal exploitation in the form of a transition to a #PlantBasedFuture.”
The group also posted: “The restaurant serves a set menu starting at £195 per person. Whilst 2 million in the UK rely on food banks, high-end restaurants are catering to a wealthy minority.”
They then shared a video of the police entering Mana and handcuffing protesters, and said: “ARRESTS ARE BEING MADE at Mana Restaurant in Manchester, following a peaceful occupation at Mana.
“This is an emergency. We indisputably NEED to transition away from animal farming and towards a #plantbasedfuture.”
Simon Martin, Mana’s chef-patron, said in a lengthy statement that the team were ‘confused’ as to why independent Mana was targeted over a large chain.
He said: “The protest last night at Mana disrupted the operation of a small business that has already suffered economically from COVID and the ongoing energy crisis during the busiest night of the week. Guests who were celebrating birthdays and anniversaries had their meals delayed by 3 hours, and our hard-working staff had to work into the late hours of the night.
“While we tried to communicate with the protestors during the course of the evening, politely asking them to leave, they refused to speak with us.
“Whilst everyone is entitled to their opinions and beliefs, we are confused as to why the protestors chose to target a restaurant that prioritizes sustainability and animal welfare, instead of a corporate fast food chain.
“Mana has always been a highly sustainable restaurant, sourcing hyper local and sustainably produced vegetables from small businesses just like ourselves who abstain from GMOs, herbicides, and pesticides.
“Farms for livestock we use are personally visited by members of the team to ensure standards there meet our criteria for supply, and seafood is strictly captured by hand or line. The cost of a meal at Mana is reflective of these production methods, which are lower yield and higher quality.
“It’s ironic that the protesters who are campaigning for better food supply do not realise the cost attached to the quality, leading us to believe they do not fully understand their cause.
Mana is always supportive of good causes with a history of hosting events for The Christie NHS foundation trust and Eat Well MCR, as well as making donations towards StreetSmart and Hospitality Action. A portion of each table’s bill is donated towards the homeless.”
A spokesman for Animal Rebellion clamed that Mana was targeted because ‘it refuses to cater to vegans’ and has ‘a meat-heavy menu’. Simon has responded to that claim to clarify that Mana offers a full vegetarian menu, but said: “We do not cater for lactose intolerances for logistical reasons.”