Page appears to praise man arrested on suspicion of murdering Manchester police officers and suggest he should receive OBE

A man has been arrested in connection with an offensive Facebook page set up following the deaths of police officers Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone, Greater Manchester police said.

Police said the man was arrested on suspicion of an offence under the Communications Act 2003 but did not further specify what the suspected offence was.

The page appeared to praise Dale Cregan, the man police have arrested on suspicion of the murders, for his alleged involvement. It also suggested he should be awarded an OBE.

The overwhelming public reaction, however, has been sympathetic to the police. An online book of condolence has been opened and has attracted more than 25,000 messages from wellwishers. A Facebook page set up by the force has been viewed by more than a million people.

In a separate development, the police dismissed reports that the gun used in Tuesday's shootings had been supplied by Steven Greenoe, an American who was jailed in the US for importing gun components to the UK. Greenoe, of Raleigh, North Carolina, bought the guns in the US, broke them up and hid them in his bags, before travelling to the north-west of England on commercial flights.

Earlier, the family and friends of Hughes and Bone paid tribute to their dedication and commitment to the job.

Hughes, 23, and Bone, 32, were shot while responding to a report of a burglary at Abbey Gardens, on the Hattersley estate in Mottram, shortly before 11am on Tuesday. A grenade was also used in the attack.

A minute's silence was held in honour of the officers on Wednesday.

Theresa May, the home secretary, described the murders as "savage acts of pure brutality", and said the victims were "brave and talented officers who were going about their everyday duties, doing what they do, day in, day out, protecting the public, fighting crime".

Postmortem examinations on the officers concluded that they died as a result of gunshot wounds.

Cregan, 29, handed himself in at a police station and was being questioned in connection with four murders: those of Hughes and Bone, and of Mark Short, 23, in May, and his father, David, 46, on 10 August.

Police were granted more time to question Cregan, giving them until Friday morning before he must be charged or released.

On Wednesday, a 28-year-old man, who has not been named, was arrested in the Hattersley area on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder. He was taken into police custody for questioning.

Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan, of Greater Manchester police, said on Wednesday: "We have been touched by the many thousands of messages of support that we have received from the public who are as shocked as we are following the tragic deaths of our two officers.

"Greater Manchester police along with police forces across the UK are still very much in mourning today and our specially trained staff are doing everything they can to support the families of Fiona and Nicola. Two hard-working and brave young women did not go home to their loved ones. We are determined to bring each and every person involved in this incident to justice."

Helen Carter © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds



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