Aldershot News & Mail

Late night dip to avoid capture

Police helicopter and firemen in wetsuits were called to the scene


A MAN fled from police and took refuge on an island in a lake in Aldershot, leading to a stand off with officers before he handed himself in nearly two hours later.

Police officers were called to a house in Lock Road at 7.20pm on Sunday as a member of the public had reported they were concerned for the welfare of a 29-year-old man there.

However, when the officers arrived to assist him, he ran to the nearby lake and swam over to the island in the middle.

A mission was launched to retrieve the man – the police helicopter was deployed and hovered over the lake and firemen stood by in wetsuits ready to go into the water after him, but the man eventually came to the shore and surrendere­d to the police.

He swam approximat­ely 120 metres from the shore to the island, before eventually making the return trip.

A Hampshire Constabula­ry spokesman said: “An attempt was made to assist the man and to provide medical support but the man fled from police and swam to an island in the middle of a nearby lake.

“Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and the police helicopter were utilised to ensure the safety of the man who eventually returned to the shore after around an hour and a half.”

The man was taken to Frimley Park Hospital to be checked over. A SECAmb spokesman could not reveal the nature of the injuries.

Two fire engines with crew members from Rushmoor fire station attended the lake scene, which is situated in public land close to a small housing estate, and were supported by a multi-role vehicle from Rushmoor and two water rescue units from Fareham.

The firefighte­rs were called due to the man ending up in the water, and they were prepared to carry out the rescue with some officers putting on specialist water rescue clothing and being ready to assist on the waterside. But their services were not needed.

They remained at the scene until just before 10pm.

Neighbours spoke of hearing the helicopter ‘buzzing overhead’ and lights on emergency service vehicles flashing close to the lake.

Hampshire Constabula­ry confirmed that no arrests had been made in relation to the incident.

Speaking after national Drowning Prevention Week, which ended on June 29, Di Steer, acting chief executive of the Royal Life Saving Society UK, warned: “We know there are open water sites locally where people have been known to swim over the years but we urge people to stop and think about how dangerous these places can be.

“Areas of open water can vary overnight and just because they were clear last year, or even yesterday doesn’t mean they will be today.

“Most importantl­y these areas of water may still be far too cold to swim in. Don’t be fooled by short bouts of warm weather. When muscles become weak and unresponsi­ve from the cold, it is almost impossible to swim and very difficult to get out.”

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