Police shoot robbery suspect

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The Independent Online
DANNY PENMAN

A suspected armed robber was shot and seriously wounded by officers from the Flying Squad in Croydon yesterday.

Armed police confronted three suspected robbers after a raid on a Brinks Ltd security van outside Selhurst railway station. As the robbers tried to flee, they were confronted by armed police who were involved in a surveillance operation.

"After the suspects were intercepted they fired shots at the police, who exchanged fire with them," a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said.

A man drinking in a nearby pub said he saw the men run past. He said: "We went outside and saw one of them had dropped a sawn-off shotgun. There were so many plain-clothes police you couldn't count them."

Mick Constable, who works for British Rail, was walking near the scene of the robbery when one of the suspected robbers, disguised as a railway worker, was confronted by police.

"As I passed the man I saw he had a bag. I said to him: 'Have you got your wages?' and he said 'Yes' and walked on," he said.

"Then I heard police shouting 'stand back, let him through'. The police were going along the wall just like they do in films," he added. The robbers then tried to escape by car.

One of the suspected robbers, a 36-year-old man, was taken to Mayday Hospital in Thornton Heath, south London, with five bullet wounds to the back, chest, arm and hand.

A spokeswoman for Mayday Hospital said that his condition was "stable and comfortable" and his wounds were not thought to be life-threatening.

A second suspect was also taken to hospital but his injuries were not thought to be a result of the exchange of fire. A third suspect escaped. The Police Complaints Authority is to supervise an investigation into the incident.

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