A MAN arrested in connection with an unsolved double rape in Burnley more than 20 years ago was identified by DNA after being charged with a minor traffic offence, police said.

The 50-year-old was placed on the DNA database after the traffic offence, and on Monday night officers from Lancashire Constabulary’s ‘cold case’ team swooped in Glasgow to arrest him.

He has since been released on bail after being interviewed at Lancaster Police Station in connection with the double rape of a 22-year-old woman in Robin house Lane, Briercliffe, in January 1989.

Detective Sergeant Bev Foster, part of the police’s cold case team, said: “We have been looking at this case for a while now.

“There have been further developments in DNA and what we can do since 1989 which have led to this.

“Back then it was probably just a case of checking blood groups, but there have been a lot of new developments.”

At the time, the Lancashire Telegraph reported how the woman was bundled into a car while walking home in the early hours of January 18 along Briercliffe Road, Burnley.

Police said the first rape took place in the front seat of the car, before the young mum was held down by her wrists and driven away.

The second rape is then said to have taken place while the car was in motion.

Following the attacks, she was ordered out of the car in Robin House Lane, and raised the alarm after running to the nearby Stepping Stone Cottage.

DS Foster said: “We are now reviewing all evidence from 1989 and will be interviewing witnesses again.”

The cold case team constantly review unsolved crimes from across Lancashire, and are currently in the process of looking back at all unsolved stranger rapes since 1984.

DS Foster said: “We have had some good success in these cases with new DNA technology and evidence.

“We have also recently got a conviction for a murder from 11 years ago.”

>>> Top detective recalls 1989 police hunt

THE detective who led the investigation into the alleged ‘silent rape’ that rocked Burnley has spoken after a man was arrested 20 years later.

Colin Maloney, a Detective Inspector at the time, was in charge of the hunt for two men suspected of raping a 22-year-old woman in January 1989.

On Monday night, police from Lancashire travelled to Glasgow to arrest a 50-year-old man after new DNA evidence emerged in relation to the double rape in Robin House Lane, Briercliffe.

He has now been released on bail pending further inquiries.

Mr Maloney said: “I remember the case well. It was an unusual allegation in that it was a stranger rape and also an alleged double rape. Although it was over 20 years ago, I do remember it being significant that the complainant raised the alarm with the first people she saw, at a nearby house.

“That placed the victim at the scene at the time of the attack and was a great help for our investigation.”

Since leading that investigation in 1989, Mr Maloney went on to become a Detective Superintendent in Lancashire Constabulary, before retiring from the force in 2002.

Of the ‘silent rape’, one of East Lancashire’s most notorious unsolved crimes, he said: “It was a major incident in Burnley at the time.We set up an incident room and diverted officers from other duties to that incident room. We did get some information about two men who had approached two women just before the alleged incident at Burnley bus station.

“One of those men was said to have had a Scottish accent and the investigation focused on Scotland after that.

“We had exhausted all avenues and had no other useful information when the investigation came to an end. We were all disappointed that we didn’t get any success.”

He is now a senior lecturer in police and criminal investigation within the Department of Forensic and Investigative Sciences at the University of Central Lancashire.