UPDATE - pics from scene show arrest of armed robbery suspect and recovery of gun in Wanstead High Street
PUBLISHED: 09:37 08 May 2013 | UPDATED: 09:49 09 May 2013
Armed police have foiled a suspected robbery and arrested one man in Wanstead High Street this morning. .
Dramatic pics taken at the scene by eyewitness Craig Ryan, who works in Wanstead, show police leading the suspect in handcuffs towards a car.
Police are also seen with a firearm recovered from the scene.
Officers blocked off a white van just after 9.05am close to the Wanstead pharmacy and Tesco store.
Between 20 and 30 armed officers from the Met Police’s Flying Squad were involved and a man in his 30s has been arrested.
An officer at the scene said the van, a Citroen Berlingo, had a railway sleeper block which was covered in fabric and was sticking out the back of the van.
He was not able to say what had been the target of the robbery.
Eyewitnesses said they heard loud bangs before police moved into the road.
A Met police spokesman has confirmed the officers used Hatton rounds - heavy projectiles - to shoot out the van’s tyres.
An officer at the scene said officers smashed the window of the van before pulling out a man in his 30s.
The officer also said a loaded firearm was recovered from the van.
The Met spokesman said enquiries are ongoing.
The high street was cordoned off following the police swoop but has now reopened and the van remains in the road and is cordoned off.
Ricardo Berenger, 42, of Wanstead, said: “I was just waiting for the bank to open and all of a sudden, I heard loud bangs.
“The police just came out of nowhere.
“It was so scary.
“The police just came out and went into the vehicle.
“They were shouting and they all had guns.
“That was scary.”
A cash delivery van which was in the road has now been moved.
Dan Clapton, 44, of Wanstead, said: “There was a shout by armed police and then two bangs.
“It appears there was a white van and an Audi.
“[The man] got out of the white van and was brought down by four or five officers.
“The whole high street was covered with police getting out of vehicles as if they knew this vehicle was coming.
“People are suggesting there was a lot of police waiting in the High Street.”