Miracle escape as chase ends in crash

Residents of a busy Ipswich road were today thankful no one was killed or maimed after 60mph police chase ended with a van ploughing into both sides of the carriageway.

IPSWICH: Residents of a busy Ipswich road were today thankful no one was killed or maimed after 60mph police chase ended with a van ploughing into both sides of the road.

Had Saturday night's terror happened half an hour later when crowds were pouring away from the Christchurch Park fireworks display, there could easily have been deaths or injuries.

The drama began when police received a call about men acting suspiciously in the grounds of Ipswich Hospital.

When a patrol car turned up, the white transit van sped off.


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Police chased it along Woodbridge Road, but as it travelled at more than 60mph they took the decision not to continue the chase in the interests of public safety.

A few hundred yards further on, however, the van crashed into steel railings beside a roundabout before slewing across the road and crashing into Carol Garner's garden wall.

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The three men in the van fled towards the town seconds before police arrived.

Mrs Garner said: “I was sitting at home and heard this huge bang. It was much louder than a firework. My wall was knocked down a couple of years ago and I knew the same thing had happened again.

“I had thought about getting it reinstated but I think I'll get railings put up here now. I'm just relieved no one was hurt - there could easily have been someone walking along here.”

Trevor Wisbey, the landlord of the Case is Altered, saw the crash. “I heard this noise and looked out of the door to see the van crashing into the wall and the three men running away.

“I picked up the phone to call the police but before I had started dialling the police came came down the road just behind the crashed van. But the men from the van had run off towards the town before the police got here.

“Within a few minutes there were police everywhere. I understand there was a load of copper piping in the back of the van.”

Police said the van had not been reported stolen before the incident, but they had received a call about men acting suspiciously near the hospital.

A police spokeswoman confirmed that a quantity of scrap metal had been found in the van which is currently undergoing forensic examination at the police headquarters.

A spokeswoman for the hospital said there had not been any scrap metal left at the site - although there was an area being cleared for a new building for the the mental health services trust.

That was surrounded by fencing, and no one from the hospital had seen anything suspicious on Saturday - but the call could have come from someone else.

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