Five arrested in travellers' site raid

FIVE people were arrested today following a raid in connection with a spate of crimes on the A14 where lives have been put at risk by vandals throwing, firing and placing objects on the carriageway.

FIVE people were arrested today following a raid in connection with a spate of crimes on the A14 where lives have been put at risk by vandals throwing, firing and placing objects on the carriageway.

Police swooped at West Meadows travellers' site in Bury Road, Ipswich, bringing in five people for questioning in connection with a series of alleged offences.

The youngest person arrested was a 12-year-old boy, held on suspicion of criminal damage.

A 16-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage with intent to endanger life; a 17-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of theft; a 15-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and a 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of causing danger to road users.

Seven air weapons were also seized.

Armed officers and police dog teams attended the site as part of a pre-planned operation.

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The raid follows a series of crashes on the A14 which have seen several people injured and a number of cars badly damaged.

As reported in The Evening Star last month, a 17-year-old boy has already been arrested on suspicion of placing items, including a fridge, on the slip-roads near Asda superstore. He has been released on police bail until June.

Sergeant Roger Salmon, who led the operation, said: “We don't want to upset community relations up there.

“We are not just focusing on that site.

We did get a positive response from those living at the site and had good feedback from the residents who were keen to assist.”

The arrests followed nine incidents recorded on the carriageway near Asda between March 17 and April 14.

Businesses in the area received a letter from police asking them for information and warning them of potential hazards on the road.

The Star reported on April 16 that police had warned the public of a “potentially catastrophic incident” after bricks were thrown from the A1156 bridge on to the carriageway, hitting a Ford Focus below.

The car's windscreen smashed and the driver, a 57-year-old, from Bury St Edmunds, lost control of the vehicle veering off the road and smashing into an embankment and trees.

Over the same weekend a brick was thrown at a car exiting the dual carriageway.

Mark Webb, 27, of Thackeray Road, Whitton, said the brick was thrown sideways from bushes and dented the passenger door of his car just a few inches from where his four month pregnant girlfriend Sue-zann Wright, 18, was sitting.

A paving slab also reportedly hit a car after being thrown from a bridge on to the road.

Back in February there was also a series of incidents when stones and ball bearings were fired at cars on the road, injuring 64-year-old grandmother Diana Compton. She was hit in the eye and was travelling in one of at least three vehicles which were damaged.

That incident is not believed to be connected to today's arrests.

All five of the suspects were released on police bail this afternoon, to return to Ipswich police station on June 13.

Were you a victim in any of the incidents? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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