Gun & railway sleeper found in armed robbery

30 August 2013

Police who seized a van in Wanstead found both a gun and a railway sleeper. They were discovered when the vehicle was raided by police in an armed robbery operation this morning. Police with automatic weapons surrounded the white van near to Wanstead Chemist at about 9am. A man in his 30s, was arrested at the scene.

It is understood that the police were investigating the possibility that the used railway sleeper was planned to be used as part of a smash-and-grab raid on a nearby bank. A photograph on the Twitter website shows flying squad officers next to the van pulling out a handgun from a bag next to the van at the scene.

There was also a note outside the HSBC bank in Wanstead High Street saying it was closed due to an 'incident', raising suspicions that it could have been the target for an attempted robbery, although this has not been confirmed by the bank. Witnesses said that passers-by ran to escape when police swooped on the van and they stated that they had heard loud bangs. The metropolitan police initially denied firing any shots but later admitted that they had punctured the van's tyres.