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Crash in Strode Crescent, Sheerness sparks helicopter search for man

Police are continuing to hunt for a suspect who crashed into a bollard in a stolen car, ran into the sea and made it back out safely.

The man sparked a huge search operation along the Sheppey coastline after disappearing into the choppy waters late on Friday night.

Police say they have identified a suspect after receiving information that he is safe and well.

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Paramedics at the scene
Paramedics at the scene

Now they are attempting to find him, but will not be releasing further information at this stage.

A police helicopter, lifeboat, coastguard and fire crews were involved in the overnight search, which was called off on Saturday at 3.50am and resumed at about 10am.

DCI Adam Ball said concerns for the man’s welfare had prompted the search operation.

"The sea was extremely rough and there was a genuine concern for the man’s safety," he said.

VIDEO: A witness tells what he saw when the drama unfolded

"However, after extensive enquiries, we now believe that he found his own way out of the water. We still wish to speak to him.

"In the meantime I would like to thank the public and our partner agencies for their help and support."

A car thought to have been involved in the crash
A car thought to have been involved in the crash

Three people from Sheerness were arrested at the scene of the crash on suspicion of taking a car without consent.

Two women, aged 19 and 29, were released without charge.

A 27-year-old man from Sheerness has been bailed while enquiries continue.

DCI Ball is appealing for anyone who saw the car earlier in the evening to contact police.

The car hit a bollard in Strode Crescent
The car hit a bollard in Strode Crescent

He said: “Initial enquiries suggest that the Renault Clio had been stolen earlier that evening from the car park of a pub in The Leas, Minster-on-Sea.

“From there it was driven to Strode Crescent, where it was in collision with a bollard. “If you saw the collision or the Clio earlier in the evening please call us, as the information could help with our enquiries.”

Mick Kenten, who works at Sheppey FM, watched the drama unfold.

He said: “It was like a terrorist alert. You know when you see these things on telly and you just see the police coming from all directions.

Mick Kenten
Mick Kenten

“I’ve never seen that many police vehicles in one area. We just thought it must be something very very big because of the amount of vehicles, police vans, all sorts.

“So we knew there must have been something big happening, with the coastguard, ambulance and everyone else.

“We didn’t quite know what at the time because we just thought to get out the way so they could just get on with what they needed to do.”

Anyone with information should call police on 101, quoting reference 24-1624.

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