When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Suspected shoplifter swept into culvert as he tried to escape police
12:00pm Saturday 29th September 2012 in News
A SUSPECTED shoplifter jumped into a river and was swept 300 metres along an underground culvert in a desperate bit to evade capture by the police.
The 36-year-old man, believed to have stolen a bottle of vodka, was pulled to safety by specialist firefighters and was lucky to be alive, according to a local councillor.
Police and firefighters were called to the River Darwen close to Hardman Way, Darwen, after the man was chased out of Sainsbury’s by security staff at 10am.
Inspector Bob Eaton said: “The suspected shoplifter climbed into the river outside Sainsbury’s and ran into the culvert, where there was several feet of water. He went a considerable distance.
“In a joint operation, police officers and firefighters contained the area and the man was arrested after coming out of the other end.”
A huge network of large underground culverts, made of stone and big enough to walk through if dry, exists beneath Blackburn and Darwen.
A spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said: “Two men wearing full kit were sent into the river after being called by police, but the man managed to climb out of the other end.”
Police said the man was taken for precautionary checks at Royal Blackburn Hospital because of a low body temperature. A bottle of vodka with a tag was recovered from him.
Sudell councillor Roy Davies said: “It is a very dangerous culvert. He is lucky to be alive, although I don’t have any sympathy for him.
“I was looking at it the other day and there is only a bit of a wall that isn’t very high and then a wooden fence.
“If a child went in there they would never come out and it worries me.
“People don’t realise how strong the current is there when the rain has been coming.
“The river was so swollen the other day it was only a couple of feet from the top of the culvert.”
Marsh House town councillor Simon Huggill said: “This is complete and utter madness. This was a very dangerous thing to do, and for the price of whatever was stolen, it’s not worth risking your life for.
“I think that every single shoplifter should be prosecuted because they’re not just stealing from the shop, but from the ordinary people who have to pay price rises to cover losses.”
Comments are closed on this article.