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Man questioned after armed police swoop

PUBLISHED: 11:35 05 September 2001 | UPDATED: 10:29 03 March 2010

A MAN who posed as a detective with a handgun while trying to search startled Suffolk motorists is being quizzed today after being arrested by armed police officers.

A MAN who posed as a detective with a handgun while trying to search startled Suffolk motorists is being quizzed today after being arrested by armed police officers.

The 31-year-old man is alleged to have stopped motorists on Newton Road and Bishops Hill in Ipswich.

The suspect, who was not wearing a police uniform, told the alarmed drivers that he was a plain-clothes detective.

The first incident occurred at around 11.20pm. The man posing as a policeman is reported to have had an imitation handgun held in a waist-holster as he approached two men who were stationary on motor bikes in Newton Road.

The bogus policeman attempted to search them and their vehicles. However when challenged the armed man could not produce any form of identification proving he was an officer.

The two bikers are thought to have called the real police immediately. A firearms unit who were nearby were then despatched to the area.

However, the man claiming to be a policeman had moved on to Bishops Hill. He is thought to have stopped a car, and then attempted to search both the motorist and the vehicle.

But as he searched the car, armed officers swooped immediately and arrested him. The imposter had been on the streets for 30 minutes before his arrest.

The man arrested, who is from Ipswich, is being held on suspicion of imitating a police officer, and possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence. He is being held at Ipswich police station where detectives questioned him today.

Today residents of Bishops Hill were unaware of what had gone on outside their homes and there was no sign of any disturbance.

Suffolk Police spokeswoman Anna Woolnough said that the man had not been charged with any offence.

She said: "The first incident occurred at around 11.20pm yesterday and he was arrested at one minute before midnight. I can not say how many firearms officers were involved.

"No helicopter was used and it was dealt with very quickly. He is likely to be quizzed today."

Detectives have 24 hours from the time of an arrest to question the suspect before deciding whether to charge him, bail him or release him without charge.

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