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Brave officer apprehends suspected robber
Friday 17th September, 2010

A suspected robber is currently in custody thanks to the bravery of a Wigan police officer.

The officer risked serious injury to chase a gang of men armed with machetes and baseball bats after a robbery in Wigan.

And despite sustaining facial injuries when his car was attacked, the officer courageously pursued the men on foot and eventually detained one member of the gang.

It happened after an attempted robbery at a petrol station in Leigh.

At around 8.30am today, Friday 17 September 2010, an Audi A3 that had been stolen about a month earlier pulled up at the Total garage on Warrington Road and men wearing balaclavas got out.

They threatened staff with machetes and baseball bats but no money was taken.

As they tried to drive off, the Audi collided with a wall on Timperley Lane and the offenders got out. They then approached a woman sitting in a Mini and forced her out of her car before driving off.

She was uninjured but shocked by what happened.

The officer responded to the 999 call and briefly pursued the Mini. The stolen car then stopped and the four armed men got out and started to attack the police patrol car, smashing the windscreen and causing the officer to sustain cuts to his face.

However, undeterred the officer got out of his car and chased the gang on foot, detaining one of the men nearby.

A 25 year-old man was arrested near the scene on suspicion of robbery and criminal damage. He remains in custody for questioning.

Superintendent Stuart Ellison said: "This officer showed absolutely exceptional bravery. Not only did he suffer injuries when his car was attacked with machetes and bats, but he knew he could be risking further harm to himself by chasing after these violent criminals unarmed.

"However, he still pursued these men and thanks to his courageous actions, we have a suspect in custody. The officer deserves the highest praise for what he did and showed that Greater Manchester Police officers are prepared to put their own safety at risk to protect the public.

"Every day, officers out on patrol put themselves in harm's way to keep our communities safe and target criminals. This sort of incident shows not only the dangers officers face, but the lengths they will go to to stop criminals in their tracks."

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

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