Dramatic arrest in hunt for robbers

A fresh suspect is being questioned in connection with a series of armed robberies following a dramatic chase in which officers plunged into freezing water and tracked the fugitive through undergrowth.

A fresh suspect was last night being questioned in connection with a series of armed robberies following a dramatic chase in which officers plunged into freezing water and tracked the fugitive through undergrowth.

Police and the wanted man spent nearly an hour in the freezing cold waters of the River Delph, near Welney, before the officers' persistence paid off. Helicopters from Norfolk and Cambridgeshire were deployed along with dog units.

Moments earlier the 43-year-old, who was arrested in connection with the raids in west Norfolk and the Fens, had flipped his car after police ordered him to stop. He fled the vehicle leaving behind his 24-year-old female passenger who was injured in the crash.

Temporary assistant chief constable Simon Bailey said: “I am extremely proud of the bravery of these three officers.


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“I hope that the lengths to which they were prepared to go both to arrest this man and to ensure his safety clearly demonstrates the clear and resolute commitment of the constabulary and its officers to preventing crime and protecting the public.”

The incident happened just before 10pm on Saturday at Welney when the man was travelling along the A1101 towards Upwell. It is believed officers gave chase after recognising him as a suspect in their investigation into the raids on rural properties and businesses over a two week spell last month.

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The vehicle almost immediately overturned in a field near Welney Wash. The man ran off into wetlands and scrubland between Wash Road and the River Delph.

State-of-the-art thermal imaging equipment and police dogs were used to track him as he crawled through bushes and deep reeds near to the suspension bridge.

Spokeswoman Kristina Fox said: “Three officers spent almost an hour wading in the water through dense reed beds and undergrowth in an effort to locate and detain the man as he attempted to evade arrest.

“As well as being keen to detain the suspect as quickly as possible, the officers had also recognised the risk to his safety, which was clearly compromised by the depth and exceedingly cold temperature of the water.”

The officers who made the arrest have not been named but were a sergeant and a police constable based in Swaffham and a specialist dog handler constable based in King's Lynn.

They were taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn for check-ups for hypothermia but have since been discharged.

The woman, a 24-year-old from the Huntingdon area, was assessed by paramedics at the scene. She has been arrested in connection with the incident and remains in custody in a police station in Norfolk.

The man also received medical attention. He has been arrested in connection with the robberies.

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