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Masked gunman shoots at Suffolk cop

PUBLISHED: 18:24 13 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:32 03 March 2010

ON the day that police marched on London to protest against changes to their pay and conditions, a major investigation was launched in Suffolk after a masked gunman fired shots at an on-duty officer.

ON the day that police marched on London to protest against changes to their pay and conditions, a major investigation was launched in Suffolk after a masked gunman fired shots at an on-duty officer.

Armed police joined uniformed colleagues in a dragnet-style probe in the Stradbroke area of the county after the 31-year-old constable was fired at with what is believed to be a sawn-off shotgun.

He had been called to investigate an incident in Wilby Road, Stradbroke after an anonymous tip-off.

In the incident that followed, the brave officer, who has not been named, was shot at but made chase in an effort to apprehend the offenders.

He was today helping detectives with their inquiry and although he was not injured was said to be badly shaken.

Suffolk Police are desperately seeking further details from the anonymous man who made the tip-off to police at 8.20pm yesterday.

He told police that a car was being driven slowly along Wilby Road while one of the passengers, who had got out of the vehicle, was looking into parked cars.

The officer, based at Eye police station, attended the scene to carry out checks at about 8.50pm and drove along the B1117 towards Laxfield.

He drew up behind a white Citroen Saxo car which had three men in it. The vehicle had no number plate.

As his car approached, the Saxo stopped and the front seat passenger got out. The police officer stopped his car about 20ft behind the Saxo and also got out.

Without warning the passenger pulled down his hat to create a balaclava mask and aimed what appeared to be a sawn-off shotgun in the direction of the officer.

The policeman immediately jumped back into his vehicle, saw a flash, and heard the shotgun being fired.

The gunman got back into the Saxo and the vehicle drove off without its lights on. The Pc tried to follow the car but, after a short distance, lost it in the dark. It is believed it may have driven off the B1117 toward Wilby.

Police in Suffolk alerted their Norfolk colleagues to the drama and patrols were stepped up in both counties.

"Although it appears the offender discharged the shotgun to warn off the police officer, this was still a very dangerous situation in which a police office could have been killed or injured," said Detective Inspector Chris Pryke, who is leading the inquiry.

"Our priorities are to trace the anonymous caller who reported the car acting suspiciously in Stradbroke, to establish whether these incidents are linked.

"We also need to hear from anyone who was in the area between 8pm and 10pm last night, particularly if they saw a white Citroen Saxo car.

"I would also appeal for the public's help in finding where this car is now. It did not have a rear number plate at the time of the incident so people may have noticed it.

"I need to hear from people who have seen a car matching this description in recent days."

Detectives do not have a description of the men in the Saxo at this stage other than the gunman is believed to be white.

The police car was not damaged in the incident.

n Anyone with information is asked to contact Suffolk Police on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


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