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Gun drama set in deepest Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 18:34 13 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:32 03 March 2010

THE bizarre gun drama happened in the heartland of deepest rural Suffolk – miles from the urban backdrop more often associated with violent crime.

The shot was fired on an isolated stretch of the B1117 road linking Stradbroke to Laxfield in the middle of picture-postcard North Suffolk.

THE bizarre gun drama happened in the heartland of deepest rural Suffolk – miles from the urban backdrop more often associated with violent crime.

The shot was fired on an isolated stretch of the B1117 road linking Stradbroke to Laxfield in the middle of picture-postcard North Suffolk.

There was no sign today of last night's killing confrontation when a masked man fired at a police officer called out to a report of a suspicious car and a man looking in vehicles.

Few are likely to have heard the gunshot for there are only a handful of houses on the one and a half mile stretch of road where a passenger jumped from the front seat of the vehicle and pointed a sawn off shotgun at the cop.

Anyone who did hear the blast of the gun may have dismissed it as part of routine farm work.

But there would have been hardly anyone to hear anything at all. The few houses that are scattered along the route between Stradbroke and the Wilby turn are placed back from the tree lined road amid vast stretches of farmland.

Traffic is scarce and a significant proportion of that is tractors.

In Wilby Road, Stradbroke, where the chain of events is believed to have started, life goes on today undisturbed.

It was in this residential street that an anonymous caller reported a suspicious car at around 8.20pm yesterday.

The caller said that one of the vehicle's passengers was peering into cars.

The quiet street, which leads from the village towards Wilby, houses a fire station, high school and community centre, but few people were out and about.

Only a handful of cars were parked along Wilby Road today, home to a mixture of council houses and privately owned larger, detached properties.

Stradbroke residents were bemused by the events of last evening. A woman from Wilby Road was stunned to learn of the gun drama which happened just miles from her home.

George Brown, 77, of Shelton Hill, just off the B1117, said: "A chap took me to Diss this morning and said that during the night he heard a car come through here like the clappers."

Mr Brown, who has lived in Stradbroke almost 40 years, said he had never heard of anything like the drama of last night. The only trouble in the village was youngsters smashing up the phone box.

"I don't think people will be very happy. We don't know what is going on these days," Mr Brown said.

Adding that he had heard a helicopter last night and wondered what it was there for.

Jenny Walker, 47, had been sat watching television in her Wilby Road home at the time police received a tip-off that there were men acting suspiciously in the street and a car was driving slowly along the road.

She saw and heard nothing of the incident but was shocked to hear of what happened so close to her home in an area of Suffolk in which she loves to live.

"It's normally quiet here and there is no trouble at all," she said.

"Normally there are no cars parked around here as most people have driveways."

"I certainly wouldn't expect this kind of thing round here," she added.

Stradbroke is a large village, with a population of just 1,100.

But it is an important centre for the rural area – both the primary school and the high school for the area is in the village.

It also has a library and a swimming pool.

The character of the village has changed significantly over recent years – new homes have been built and incomers seeking the country life have moved into the area.

Many of the new homes are large and could be seen as easy pickings for criminals from outside the area.

However its relatively isolated position – it is 12 miles from the nearest A road, the A140 – would make it difficult for criminals to make a quick getaway.


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