Ram-raid suspects caught hiding in canal after five break-ins in one day
Crow bars, a blow torch and a Land Rover were used in the burglaries - but the crooks left each shop empty handed.
Two burglary suspects were found hiding in a canal after a dramatic police chase involving a helicopter, cars and sniffer dogs.
The pursuit happened last night after burglars used crowbars, a blow torch and a stolen Land Rover to smash their way into five shops - but fled empty handed from all of them.
Three of the break-ins happened in less than an hour across Dudley and Birmingham at around midnight last night, just 21 hours after two ram-raids in the space of 15 minutes in south Birmingham.
Police were alerted to the first of last night's break-ins when men used crowbars to smash their way into a Co-op store in Sedgley Road, Woodsetton, Dudley, at 11.30pm.
The raiders tried in vain to open a cash machine inside the shop before fleeing.
The next break-in happened just before midnight at a jewellers in Hockley Street, Hockley, where a blow torch was used to cut through security shutters - and it was after this that police began an active search for the crooks responsible.
Details of a Land Rover used in both offences were radioed to West Midlands Police units and at 12.20am the police helicopter spotted it in Billesley Lane – but not before a ram raid at a money exchange shop in Kings Heath High Street, where the Land Rover is believed to have driven into the shop.
Guided by the helicopter, traffic offers then chased the Land Rover into Small Heath, where it was abandoned near Walford Road.
Three men are believed to have bolted from the 4x4 but their escape bid was short-lived.
Two men were pulled from the nearby Grand Union Canal, while a third was found hiding in bushes.
Sniffer dogs also uncovered a ski mask and gloves believed to have been discarded by the suspects.
Three men - aged 26, 28 and 29 - remained in police custody this morning on suspicion of burglary.
They will also be questioned about the two ram-raids in south Birmingham.
The first happened at Argos in Kings Heath High Street at 2.45am, before an attempted break-in at a jewellery shop in Yardley Wood Road less than 15 minutes later.
The Land Rover involved is believed to have been stolen during a burglary in the West Midlands.
Chief Inspector Stu Bill, the incident manager for West Midlands Police, praised the teamwork of all the police units involved in the arrest.
He said: “We had response officers at the scene of last night’s break-ins within matter of minutes – details of the Land Rover were passed to colleagues and the force helicopter was quickly on their tail.
“Traffic officers successfully pursued the men, forcing them to abandon the car, and our dog unit helped with the arrests and to seize vital evidence. A fantastic result… police teamwork at its best.”
A spokesman for the Co-op, said: “An incident occurred at our Sedgley Road store last night when intruders entered the store after it had closed for the evening.
"Police are investigating, and we appeal for anyone with information to come forward. The store is open as usual to serve the community.”
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