Counting cost of lorry smash

Police will have to attend every time a ship passes through a swing bridge on the Norfolk-Lincolnshire border after a stolen lorry rammed through crash barriers.

Police will have to attend every time a ship passes through a swing bridge on the Norfolk-Lincolnshire border after a stolen lorry rammed through crash barriers.

Safety barriers on the swing bridge at Sutton Bridge were smashed as the driver of the empty low-loader recovery vehicle tried to evade the police during a 40-mile cross-county pursuit from Swaffham to Spalding on Wednesday afternoon.

The barriers had been closed at the request of the police in a bid to stop the lorry, which was being followed by Norfolk traffic officers.

But the driver failed to stop and instead drove into the opposite lane and crashed through two barriers at either end of the bridge.

A police spokesman said last night: “When the vehicle reached Sutton Bridge the barriers were down but the vehicle did not stop and went straight through the barriers, causing extensive damage and narrowly missing another heavy goods vehicle.”

A source said the barriers would cost around £37,000 to replace and, as a result, the police would have to control the traffic flow every time the bridge needed to be opened to allow ships to pass.

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Police have arrested a man in connection with the pursuit, which happened during the rush-hour on Wednesday evening.

It was reported that the Iveco lorry reached speeds of up to 70mph and was overtaking vehicles in a bid to shake the pursuing police.

A 20-year-old man from West Yorkshire, has been arrested on suspicion of theft of a vehicle and traffic offences, he was last night being questioned by detectives at Spalding Police Station.

A spokesman for Lincolnshire Police said the vehicle had been reported stolen from Barnsley, South Yorkshire.

He said the chase started on the A47 in Swaffham and carried on through King's Lynn, Sutton Bridge and Spalding, ending in nearby Western Hills.

The spokesman said: “A stinger device was set up and eventually caused the lorry to slow, but not before it crashed through the gates of a factory in Western Hills. The driver of the vehicle got out and ran off but a short time later was pursued on foot by officers.”

He said the chase involved Lincolnshire and Norfolk Police cars and a police helicopter. Norfolk police said the pursuit involved officers the force's air support unit, the dog section and officers from the road policing unit.

A spokeswoman for Lincolnshire Police said: “Both Lincolnshire Police and Norfolk Constabulary have specially trained officers and the necessary protocol and procedures to deal with these situations.”

Pete Parfett, supervisor at the bridge, said replacing the barriers would cost tens of thousands of pounds.

he said: “It is going to be a headache and we will have to have the police at the bridge every time a ship comes through, until the new barriers are replaced.”

It could take up to a month before new barriers can be installed.