Catalytic converter theft suspects arrested after police chase

Three men are in custody after a major manhunt involving several police cars and a helicopter left all lanes of the M23 northbound near Gatwick closed last night. The dramatic incident started at around 8.30pm yesterday when officers were called to an industrial estate in Henfield, West Sussex, to reports of a theft in progress.

The suspects fled the scene in a vehicle, which was tracked by police cameras, and they were chased by officers in a marked police car and the National Police Air Service’s helicopter.

After a 16-mile chase through the roads of Sussex the vehicle came to a stop in a street in Crawley and the suspects got out and tried to run away.

All three men were found nearby and detained in connection with the theft of catalytic converters.

A 27-year-old man from Epsom was arrested on suspicion of theft from a motor vehicle.

A 43-year-old man of no fixed address was arrested on suspicion of theft from a motor vehicle, driving dangerously, possession of Class A drugs (heroin).

He was also arrested for failing to stop when ordered to do so and going equipped for theft.

A 38-year-old man from Southerham was arrested on suspicion of theft from a motor vehicle and failing to stop.

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Motorist John Dunne was driving northbound on the M23 near Gatwick when he says police stopped all traffic at around 9.15pm last night.

The 56-year-old was at the head of the line of cars to be stopped by the police so was able to clearly see what was going on ahead.

According to Mr Dunne, armed response teams and a dog unit were trying to find a suspect at the side of the motorway while a helicopter was hovered overhead.

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Speaking to, he said: “We were coming out on the M23 heading towards Gatwick when four or five police vehicles shot past us very quickly.

He added: “Another one came out in front of us and brought the motorway to a standstill.

“Two officers got out of that vehicle. The police helicopter was above then four or five other police vehicles came down.

“We could hear the dog unit and there were police officers on the edge of the bank on the left hand side shouting ‘armed police come out’.

He says the roadblock was in place for between 15 and 20 minutes.
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