CCTV images of the two men accused of raping a 14-year-old boy at a Debenhams store in Manchester. (GMP)
CCTV images of two men accused of raping a 14-year-old boy at a Debenhams store in Manchester. (GMP)

Police investigating the rape of a 14-year-old boy in a department store have been criticised for waiting 11 weeks before launching a public appeal.

CCTV images of two men suspected of raping the 14-year-old boy in the toilets of the Debenhams store in Manchester have just been released although the assault took place on 2 June.

Greater Manchester Police said they were working with the victim and waiting on forensic results before deciding to issue an appeal.

But Tony Lloyd, MP for Manchester Central and Labour's candidate for Greater Manchester's first police commissioner, criticised the delay.

Lloyd told the Daily Mail: "There is unease about why it has taken so long for those pictures to be released. The police have to give a detailed answer as to why this delay took place.

"Common sense tells most people that early publication of CCTV helps the police because members of the public hopefully come forward and help identify the attacker and it would help prevent an early repetition [of the crime]."

He said the delay raised "important questions about public safety".

Det Sgt Liam Boden, of North Manchester CID, said the images of the two men were circulated immediately to businesses and neighbourhood officers and were released more widely after forensic tests proved negative.

Police said there have been no similar incidents in the area since the attack in June.

The two men wanted for questing - one white and one Asian - are accused of approaching the boy as he entered the toilets at the Arndale Centre in Manchester.

One man said to the boy: "Come with us, do what we say and if you try to run we'll get you."

The victim was taken upstairs in the lift in Debenhams and marched to a toilet where he was raped by the Asian man.

Boden said: "This young victim has been devastated by what happened to him.

"What makes this incident doubly shocking is that he was marched across a busy part of the city centre during the late afternoon on Saturday.

"However, this means I am confident that shoppers may have seen the offenders either before or after the incident."

Anyone with information is asked to call North Manchester CID on 0161 856 3240 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.