Late night dip to avoid cap­ture

Po­lice he­li­copter and fire­men in wet­suits were called to the scene

Aldershot News & Mail - - FRONT PAGE -

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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