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Van driven through park then dumped in ditch after Black Country police chase

By Megan Archer | Cradley Heath | Crime | Published:

A dramatic Black Country police chase ended with a van being driven through a park and then dumped in a ditch..

The dumped van in Stevens Park, Wollescote. Photo: West Midlands Police

One man was arrested after the pursuit which started in Cradley Heath and ended two miles away at Stevens Park in Wollescote, Stourbridge.

The chase began after police were called to a burglary at Cherrywood Smokehouse bar and grill in Graingers Lane shortly before 5am today.

The manager of the restaurant, on the site of the former Cradley Heath Labour Club, was alerted to the break-in having installed a new security system after another recent burglary.

A van was spotted leaving the smokehouse and officers pursued it to Lye where it repeatedly reversed into the police vehicle in a bid to escape.

An aerial view showing Stevens Park, where the van was abandoned. Photo: Google

At this point a passenger jumped out of the van and was arrested, Pc Jamie Follows said in an update to the local community.

However the van continued at speed to Stevens Park, which it was driven through before being abandoned in a ditch.

The driver was chased on foot and tracked by a police dog but managed to escape.

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Photos taken by police showed what appeared to be a crow bar and till box inside the front of the van.

The inside of the van. Photo: West Midlands Police

The 47-year-old man arrested in Lye remains in custody on suspicion of burglary.

Prem Regmi, manager at Cherrywood Smokehouse, said two cash drawers were stolen.

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"They took both cash drawers, but luckily only about £22-25 in there," he said.

"We had a burglary on January 6 too, and I believe these are the same people. They stole about £700 that time.

"They took both tills and broke the back door as well, but we are still opening as usual today."

This abandoned van. Photo: West Midlands Police

After last month's burglary, the restaurant invested in a new security system which meant Mr Regmi was immediately alerted when the burglars broke in.

He said he was able to watch them on a live stream and call the police.

West Midlands Police's Force Response team posted on Twitter: "Officers from C unit Brierley Hill pursued this van. It was seen leaving a burglary in Cradley Heath.

"We pursued it to Lye where the driver rammed our car in an attempt to escape.

"After a foot chase we have one in custody for burglary and have recovered stolen items.

"A 47-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of burglary after officers were called to Cradley Heath Labour Club on Graingers Lane, Cradley, shortly before 5am."

Megan Archer

By Megan Archer
Chief Reporter - @MeganA_Star

Chief Reporter with the Express & Star. Give me a call on 01902 319363 or email megan.archer@expressandstar.co.uk.

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