‘Frightened’ children hid as police searched for armed suspects in Wanstead chase

Armed police in Elmcroft Avenue, Wanstead, last night. Photo: Michael Begley

Armed police in Elmcroft Avenue, Wanstead, last night. Photo: Michael Begley - Credit: Michael Begley

Children were forced to hide in their bedrooms for hours as armed police searched their home during a dramatic chase for suspects – reportedly holding a gun.

The scene in Elmcroft Avenue, Wanstead.

The scene in Elmcroft Avenue, Wanstead. - Credit: Archant

Officers had been pursuing a car in East Ham at around 6pm yesterday, after reports one of the occupants had a firearm.

The driver refused to stop, and after a 20 minute chase through Wanstead, the car crashed through a wall and into a parked Mercedes in residential Elmcroft Avenue.

The suspects fled as officers with machine guns descended on the quiet suburban street.

Police arrested two boys – a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old – near the scene for driving and firearms offences, but could not find the gun.

A smashed door in Elmcroft Avenue, Wanstead.

A smashed door in Elmcroft Avenue, Wanstead. - Credit: Archant

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Officers are still hunting suspects – with two men thought to be still at large.

Armed police filed into a family home, forcing children to hide upstairs for four hours, while searching for the suspects.

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Mum-of-two Nita Chouhan, who lives opposite where the car crashed, told the Recorder her two young children were “really frightened”.

“My husband had just come home from work and saw the car crash into the wall.

“Armed police came in and asked us to go upstairs as they were searching for someone,” she said.

Nita explained the officers lay on the roof of their summer house, with their machine guns, while trying to trace the men.

“It was quite frightening having armed police in our back garden. It’s not something I’ve ever seen before in Wanstead.”

Ivor Whitworth was just starting to watch The Missing on BBC iPlayer when he heard “a bang which sounded like a firework”.

The 59-year-old looked outside to see “the street was full of police”.

“There was a helicopter as well and 10 officers with machine guns.

“I didn’t realise they were there because someone had crashed into my car.”

When Ivor got outside he found the side of his parked Mercedes smashed to pieces.

“I’ve never seen armed police in Wanstead before,” he added.

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