Dorset

Arrest over Weymouth post office gun raid

Colin Douglas
Image caption Dorset Police had put out an appeal to trace Colin Douglas

A suspected armed robber has been arrested following a police pursuit through Dorset.

Officers had wanted to trace Colin Douglas, 25, about a raid on a post office at a Londis store in Abbotsbury Road, Weymouth, on Wednesday.

During the robbery, a police officer was threatened with a gun and a woman's car was stolen.

Mr Douglas, of Weymouth, was arrested on Friday after a search which involved a police helicopter and armed officers.

He remains in custody.

A 35-year-old Weymouth woman was also arrested on Friday night on suspicion of assisting an offender.

Dorset Police said the pursuit began when officers started following a vehicle in the Westham area of Weymouth.

Long-barrelled firearm

The vehicle made off towards Dorchester and the pursuit continued until the vehicle crashed just outside the village of Broadmayne.

The driver was found in woodland after being tracked by firearms officers, police dogs and the force helicopter and arrested on suspicion of armed robbery.

He was taken to hospital with minor injuries but later released back into custody.

A loaded long-barrelled firearm - believed to be a .22 rifle - was recovered along with some ammunition on Saturday morning near the scene of the arrest.

No shots were fired during the pursuit.

An area of the woodland, just outside Whitcombe Stables at West Knighton, has been cordoned off while investigations continue. A black Vauxhall Vectra car was recovered from the scene.

'Safe conclusion'

Ch Supt Colin Stanger, of Dorset Police, said: "I'm pleased we have been able to bring this to a safe conclusion.

"I'd like to stress that no shots were fired during the pursuit and subsequent arrest."

A reward of up to £25,000 had been offered to try to trace the gunman.

Armed police and helicopters had scoured the seaside town after the masked gunman raided the post office at about 1540 GMT on Wednesday.

The robber escaped in a Nissan Almera car, threatening a police officer with a gun when he tried to stop him. The man then threatened a woman before stealing her Saab convertible car.

No shots were fired during the incident and no-one was injured. Detectives later recovered both cars and an air rifle.

Another Weymouth man, a 39-year-old held on suspicion of assisting an offender, was released on police bail.

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