Stolen car smashes through level cross­ing

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Front Page - By MATTHEW REVILLE matthew.reville@pa­ter­bor­oughto­day.co.uk

A RECK­LESS crim­i­nal crashed through gates at a level cross­ing in a des­per­ate bid to es­cape po­lice dur­ing a high speed chase.

The driver of a stolen Mercedes Benz put hun­dreds of lives at risk when they ig­nored the bar­rier’s warn­ing sig­nal of an ap­proach­ing train at the Kings Dyke rail­way cross­ing on the A605 near whit­tle­sey at 2.45pm yes­ter­day.

Eye­wit­ness re­ports sug­gest that the train was just nine sec­onds away as the stolen car crashed through the bar­ri­ers.

Shocked pas­sen­gers on the Cross Coun­try train felt a jolt as the train col­lided with de­bris left across the track .

The red Mercedes, which had been taken from a house in March that morn­ing, was later found aban­doned in Wool­pack Lane, Whit­tle­sey, and po­lice were last night try­ing to track down the driver.

De­spite col­lid­ing with the dam­aged gate, the train con­tin­ued on to Peter­bor­ough train sta­tion where en­gi­neers con­firmed that it was fit to con­tinue the jour­ney to Birm­ing­ham.

Pas­sen­ger Ben Truslove, who boarded the train at Peter­bor­ough, said: “Af­ter we got on to the train we were told that there was a de­lay be­cause of an ac­ci­dent on the Whit­tle­sey cross­ing. We were told that they were check­ing to see if the driver and the train were fit to con­tinue, and that it was thought that the train had clipped the rear end of a po­lice car.”

It was later found that no car had hit the train and of­fi­cials per­formed safety checks and as­sessed that the driver was in a fit state to con­tinue the jour­ney – a Cross Coun­try ser­vice from Stansted air­port.

The dra­matic in­ci­dent put hun­dreds of lives at risk. Ashin Ku­mar, rail di­rec­tor for trans­port watchdog Pas­sen­ger Fo­cus, said: “The reck­less be­hav­iour of these crim­i­nals not only put their own lives at risk but also the lives of hun­dreds of pas­sen­gers on the train. We hope they are ap­pre­hended quickly.”

The stolen car was spot­ted by po­lice of­fi­cers af­ter it drove past an Au­to­matic Num­ber Plate Recog­ni­tion (ANPR) cam­era in Whit­tle­sey.

A po­lice spokesman said: “Po­lice were in pur­suit of the car when it came to the bar­rier.

“Al­though there was a train head- ing for the cross­ing at the time the driver broke through the gate.

“This meant the po­lice car was un­able to safely cross over un­til the train had safely passed.

“By that time the stolen car had driven away, but it has since been re­cov­ered in Whit­tle­sey.

“It had been aban­doned on Wool­pack Lane and no ar­rests have been made.”

Any­body with any in­for­ma­tion should con­tact Cam­bridgeshire Po­lice on 0345 456 4564 or Crimestop­pers, anony­mously, on 0800 555 111.

Pic­tures: PAUL FRANKS and DAVID LOWN­DES

CRASH: The scene at the dam­aged level cross­ing. (METP-20-06-10PF511)

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