Crazed dog shot dead by police after hospitalising five officers during raid

Constables in serious but stable condition after being savaged trying to pick up court absconders

Five police officers were savaged by a dog yesterday as they tried to arrest a man during a series of raids across the capital. Neighbours described scenes of bloody mayhem as the "massive" crazed animal ripped into the policemen, who tried to escape, and to beat it off with batons before the Metropolitan Police's specialist firearms unit C019 shot the dog dead.

The five constables were all taken to hospital, four in a serious but stable condition, while another suffered minor injuries. The morning raid was part of Operation Big Wing, described by Scotland Yard as part of the "war on crime". More than 480 arrests were made during a 48-hour push to target suspected criminals who had failed to attend court.

As they attempted to detain one suspect wanted for grievous bodily harm and kidnap in Newham, east London, a dog attacked the officers, one of whom is believed to need skin grafts for serious bites to his arms and legs. Large pools of blood outside the house in Albert Square remained as evidence yesterday of the severity of the attack. A Met Police spokesman said the force had failed to pick up on intelligence that the dog had attacked a cyclist in April 2011.

Witnesses described hearing screams and emerged to find the animal was hanging off a constable's leg as he desperately tried to shake it off. Police climbed on walls and on top of cars to get away from the animal.

Dennis Clarke, 72, said: "The officers were all yelling for help, then the officer who had been bitten on the leg jumped on top of my car to get away from it, which left lots of scratches all over the paintwork." Commander Stephen Watson said: "One man [in his 20s] is in custody. Inquiries continue, but the person was arrested in line with the original purposes of the inquiries and subsequently with offences concerning the Dangerous Dogs Act."

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