Five arrests and gun seized after Shropshire police helicopter chase
A gun was seized and five people were arrested after a police helicopter pursuit through South Shropshire.
The chase came after officers identified a suspicious vehicle with cloned number plates on Thursday, during Operation Vulture, a major two-day crackdown on rural crime.
Officers tried to stop the vehicle and its occupants before it crashed into a hedge and the driver and passengers fled on foot into nearby fields.
The National Police Air Service deployed a helicopter to track them and all five suspects were located and arrested a short time later.
A firearm was also seized a few metres away from the vehicle.
West Mercia Police said Operation Vulture was a response to concerns raised by residents, aimed at disrupting and preventing night-time criminality and targeting rural crime across the county.
On the same night, police stopped a total of 69 vehicles and arrested an individual on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs, possession of an offensive weapon and driving without insurance, a valid MOT certificate or a valid driving license. Their vehicle was subsequently seized.
A further arrest was made in connection with driving under the influence of drugs and another individual was issued a ticket in relation to traffic offences.
The night before, officers stopped 86 vehicles and made three arrests in connection with driving under the influence of drugs.
They also issued one community resolution order to someone found in possession of cannabis and seized one vehicle and reported its driver for traffic offences.
Over the course of the operation, officers carried out checks in various policing areas throughout the south of the county, stop-checking vehicles and occupants where there were grounds to do so and using Automatic Number Plate Recognition systems to target individuals believed to be associated with criminal activity.
South Shropshire Safer Neighbourhood Inspector Nicola Roberts said: "The aim of the operation was to enable officers to address antisocial driving and target criminals known to be involved in crime, with a particular focus on rural crime, while promoting road safety, so we are pleased with these results and hope they demonstrate another day of activity to tackle vehicle crime within the county.
"We continue to work hard to prevent and disrupt further offences, and hope the public are reassured that we are taking vehicle crime and rural crime very seriously.
"Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to remind anyone who is thinking of committing vehicle crime or rural crime within Shropshire that Operation Vulture is in progress, and the chance of you getting caught is real and significant."
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