Policeman shot, five held after bank stake-out

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The Independent Online
A SCOTLAND YARD marksman was seriously injured last night during a shoot-out between police and suspected armed robbers in east London.

A series of incidents culminated in police marksmen surrounding and searching an east London public house where they believed that at least one armed man was hiding. Four men were questioned by detectives at an east London police station last night.

A fifth suspect was taken to hospital after being injured in the exchange of fire.

Scotland Yard said the incident began when officers from Limehouse police station, supported by armed surveillance officers, were watching a branch of the National Westminster Bank in Bow Road, Bethnal Green. Two suspects approached the bank while a third was seen near by in a BMW car. The officers pursued the suspects into Grove Hall Park, near the entrance to the Blackwall tunnel.

Two officers in an unmarked police Range Rover chased the two suspects into the park, where one man was arrested. The driver of the Range Rover then pursued the second man. The officer's colleagues heard shots and later found him lying on the ground.

About 30 minutes later, detectives went to the Flying Scud pub in Hackney Road, Bethnal Green, which is also believed to have been under surveillance. Two men were seen leaving the pub and were arrested in a minicab.

One was found to have injuries from the earlier shots. Later, he was in a 'stable' condition in hospital with a gunshot wound to his arm, and head injuries. The second suspect was believed to have been the driver of the BMW. Two other men were arrested inside the pub.

Armed police searched the public house with dogs, but nothing further was found. Last night police said they were still searching for a pump-action shotgun and a stun gun as well as the blue BMW.

A woman witness said: 'One of the men came out of the Flying Scud with his hands up. Police were pointing guns at him to make sure he didn't try anything. He was made to lie on the road and they put his hands behind his back and they handcuffed him.'

A few minutes later another man came out of the pub with his hands up and was also handcuffed.

The injured officer, who suffered leg wounds, was in a 'serious' condition in the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.

(Photograph omitted)

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