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Armed police descend on Gillingham train station

By KentOnline reporter

A manhunt which saw armed police storm a train is continuing today following the death of a woman.

Commuters told how as many as 30 officers carrying guns stormed the Londonbound service as it pulled into Gillingham train station shortly after 9pm last night.

The operation was connected to a county-wide search for a man after concerns were raised for a person's welfare following an incident at a residential address in Benenden at 4.20pm.

Armed police at Gillingham. Picture Yeside Fawehinmi

Armed police at Gillingham. Picture: Yeside Fawehinmi

Police have now confirmed a woman died, and the death is being treated as suspicious.

At least one armed response team was dispatched yesterday evening and a police helicopter was spotted flying low over several towns.

A spokesman confirmed the search was linked to the train station incident.

Armed police at Gillingham train station

Armed police at Gillingham train station

Railway worker Wesley Tabi, from the Isle of Sheppey, was on his way to a night shift in London when the train was stopped.

He said: "We pulled into Gillingham and the doors opened briefly, but then they shut and the conductor said there was going to be a bit of a delay.

 

"Then suddenly a load of old bill flooded the station. There must have been 30 of them with their machine guns. It was like SWAT.

"They started walking up and down the train and there were some on the platform with dogs.

"I read online that a man was missing, but they were looking under the seats, in bins, everywhere.

Police vehicles outside Gillingham station

Police vehicles outside Gillingham station

"I asked if they were looking for a firearm or explosive, but they wouldn't say.

"I heard someone say they might have to take the train back to the depot to do a forensic search on it."

Mr Tabi, who works for Transport for London, says passengers on the train began to get frustrated as the delays continued.

Passengers say they were kept on the train for more than an hour and a half as officers searched the carriages. Picture Yeside Fawehinmi

Passengers say they were kept on the train for more than an hour and a half as officers searched the carriages. Picture: Yeside Fawehinmi

"It was like a sweat box on there," he said.

"The doors weren't opened. It was sweltering and people were getting irate.

"We weren't given any updates on what was happened until they said we could get off and onto another train about two hours later."

Another witness reported at least eight police vans remaining at the station at 10.20pm.

Earlier, Southeastern tweeted: "Emergency services are attending an incident at Gillingham which means trains towards Chatham & London are being held at the moment."

A police spokesman said: "Police were called at 4.20pm by a member of the public who raised concerns for the welfare of a man who they believed had been involved in an incident at a residential address in the Weald area.

"Following the call officers have been carrying out enquiries to trace the man."

The search continues.

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