Police officers hit by Mercedes in ‘deliberate act’ thank public for support

Two police officers who were hit by a fast-moving Mercedes-Benz in a “deliberate act” early on Monday have thanked the public for their well wishes.

The officers had been carrying out a routine drugs check in Littlehampton, West Sussex, and had arrested three people in a Corsa car on suspicion of possession with intent to supply a Class B drug.

But the officers and one of the men were then struck by the suspected stolen Mercedes car at speed.

The response officers, whose injuries include a broken leg and shoulder and other fractures, were knocked down and sustained serious injuries, Sussex Police said.

The driver of the Mercedes remains in police custody.

Police officers hit by car
A car being towed away from the scene in Littlehampton, Sussex, where two police officers were hit by a fast-moving Mercedes Benz in a “deliberate act” early on Monday morning (Wendy Egan/PA)

The policewoman, who suffered fractures, has now been discharged from hospital, while her male colleague continues to be treated in hospital.

The driver of the Vauxhall Corsa car, arrested for possession with intent to supply a Class B drug, was also treated at hospital for fractures, but has now been discharged.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Wolstenholme, from Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team, is leading the investigation.

He said: “The officers are thankful for the outpouring of support and best wishes.

“They have been incredibly brave after being struck by a vehicle in the course of carrying out their duties.

“Thankfully they are making a steady recovery and they appreciate the kind words of support from their colleagues and the public.

“Searches, CCTV and house-to-house inquiries continue as we investigate the circumstances, with two officers and a man they had arrested struck by a Mercedes car stolen from nearby.

“It was a chaotic scene at the time and having interviewed the Mercedes driver, and looking at evidence we have gathered, including a search by police dogs, a drone and a police search team, we now suspect the 20-year-old local man arrested for attempted murder, was actually alone in the car.

Thanks for your messages about our two officers, injured on Monday.

Our officers take their duty to the public seriously and your support means a lot.

Our investigation continues and anyone with any information about the incident should contact us.https://t.co/FMrJDjS3mhpic.twitter.com/z3bM4zOju9

— Sussex Police (@sussex_police) September 24, 2019

“We are therefore no longer seeking two fleeing passengers, originally reported by a witness.

“The three local men in the Corsa car, stopped after officers responded to a call by a member of the public of suspicious behaviour, have been arrested for possession with intent to supply a Class B drug and released under investigation.

“We can confirm that the two cars are not linked.

“The Mercedes driver remains in custody and I appeal for anyone who saw what happened or has any information to contact police online or by calling 101, quoting Operation Oxbridge.”

Wendy Egan, 64, who lives nearby, told PA: “The crash woke me up and then I heard raised voices.

“I heard a female yell out ‘look what you’ve done’.

“I then saw blue lights flashing outside the bedroom window, so looked outside and could see several police cars.

“I put my robe on and went outside.

“Over the next half hour or so, many more vehicles turned up.

“At one point there were at least 17 police vehicles, two fire engines and I think two ambulances.

“All had their lights flashing and most arrived with sirens going.”

A spokesman for the Sussex Police Federation said the attack was a “stark reminder” of the dangers officers face every day.

“It was shocking to be told the news of the injuries inflicted on two of our members when they were struck by a motor vehicle while going about their duties on Sunday night.

“It was a stark reminder of the nature of policing and the dangers that officers face on a daily basis.

“Those of us who have worn the uniform understand the risks but always believe that it will be someone else and somewhere else.

“Coming so soon after the death of our Thames Valley colleague, Pc Andrew Harper, the officers are grateful that they escaped with their lives.

“We have been in touch with both officers and will work with the force to ensure they receive as much support as they need, while supporting their colleagues who are working tirelessly to bring the offenders to justice.”

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