TWO suspected thieves held a Coventry couple at knifepoint before leading police on a late-night car chase on the wrong side of two major roads in the West Midlands.
The two men were spotted in an Audi S3 Quattro at a petrol station on the Birmingham Road at around 12am on Wednesday night, just minutes after a reported burglary at a flat in the Holbrooks.
As police approached the occupants, the Audi sped away the wrong way down the A45 and out of sight.
Around 20 minutes later officers raced to the M42 southbound after the car was picked up by camera operators heading past junction 2.
But when they threw a stinger in front of the Audi on the motorway’s exit slip road at junction 3, the car performed a dangerous u-turn and began driving the wrong way along the hard shoulder.
The driver turned off the car’s headlights despite heading into oncoming traffic as specially trained officers looked to bring the chase to a safe conclusion.
They made contact with the car, forcing it to turn again and travel in the right direction but the pursuit was eventually abandoned in the interests of public safety.
Eventually the car crashed into a central reservation after being tracked by the National Police Air Service.
The driver and passenger got out and dodged traffic to run across the northbound carriageway into thick copse next to a nearby canal.
Exactly an hour after the crime was committed a 32-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of aggravated burglary and is being questioned by detectives today.
The other person in the vehicle is still on the run and police are eager for any witnesses to come forward.
“Our control room ensured police flooded the area when the initial 999 call was made reporting the break-in.” said Detective Sergeant Gareth Mitchell, from the Serious Acquisitive Crime Team at Force CID in Coventry
“The thieves had a knife and a knuckleduster and it must have been horrific for the couple that were threatened in the flat, but thankfully they were uninjured after handing over keys to the Audi.
“The arrest of a man so soon after the burglary was a result of fantastic work by our traffic officers as well as the Central Motorway Police Group, West Mercia Police and the National Police Air Service.
“Whilst public safety always comes first, we’ll do everything in our power when dangerous suspects are within our sights to stop them from getting away and causing any further harm.”
Any witnesses to any of the events should call Force CID in Coventry on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.