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Dog chases gunmen out of house
Saturday 11th September, 2010

A dog chased masked men armed with guns out of a house in Wigan during an armed robbery.

It happened at about 10.25pm on Friday 10 September 2010 on Pepperwood Drive, Winstanley.

Three men burst into the house while the family were in the living room watching television. The commotion caused the family dog, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, to attack one of the offenders and bite his leg.

The would-be thief was carrying a handgun and struck the dog, at which point the daughter of the homeowners, 22, got up to protect the animal. The gunman then struck her several times in the head with the weapon, causing a cut that needed gluing.

While this was happening, the dog continued to bite at the offender, causing the gang to flee from the house empty-handed. The dog gave chase, forcing the man to drop his gun in the garden, and pulled the offender to the ground, but he was able to struggle free and ran off down a footpath.

It is not known if any of the other men were carrying guns.

Police are now appealing to anyone who has any information to come forward.

The first man was described as white, about 5ft 7in tall and wearing a dark blue hooded top, jeans and trainers. The second was also white, in his late teens to early 20s and wearing a grey hooded top and had dark hair. The third was white and wearing a dark hooded top, light trousers and trainers. All had balaclavas.

Detective Chief Inspector Howard Millington said: "Unless you have been through this sort of ordeal, it is impossible to know how this family is feeling having had the sanctity of their home invaded by three cowards carrying guns.

"To attack a defenceless young woman who was protecting her dog with a pistol is a shameful act and these men need to be caught and spend years looking at the four walls of a jail cell.

"We are conducting house-to-house inquiries in the area to try and establish the movements of these men before and after the incident, and I want to assure both the family and members of the community who will rightly be appalled that my officers will be doing all they can to find the culprits, arrest them and bring them to justice.

"I also want to appeal to the public to help us. One of the men has been bitten by the dog and lost blood. I therefore want to ask that if anyone sees someone who has suffered these sorts of injuries, or if you have given a man with dog bites medical attention, call us immediately as this could be absolutely crucial to our investigation.

"I am also interested in the movements of a silver hatchback car that may have been used by these men as a getaway car, so if anyone has seen this sort of car being driven either slowly, at high speed or erratically in the area, then we want to hear from you.

"Criminals like these are a menace to decent, law-abiding members of our communities and can cause real misery. Greater Manchester Police has made it a priority to target these sorts of criminals and we have locked away some very dangerous people for a very long time. With the public's help, we can give the family the justice and peace of mind they deserve and put these offenders away too."

Anyone with information is asked to call Wigan CID on 0161 856 5307, 0161 872 5050 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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