Shocked holidaymakers today told how Blackpool Promenade was transformed into “something out of a movie” after armed police swooped on a man wanted for alleged attempted murder and gun crimes.
Tourists had swarmed into the resort on Saturday to take advantage of the warm weather – but they were left stunned as five armed officers carrying automatic weapons ambushed a 24-year-old man in broad daylight.
A black Vauxhall Corsa had been tracked to the resort following a shocking incident in Bradford, West Yorkshire, on Friday afternoon, which left a 22-year-old woman with serious injuries after being shot twice in the stomach.
Police pounced to arrest the man and a woman in her 20s opposite the Lyndene Hotel in South Shore, around 11am.
Three armed response police cars surrounded the car.
It had been driven northbound on the Prom when it was penned in by the officers’ cars.
Student Raj Hutchinson, 17, had dropped his car off at the garage and was walking down the Promenade when police swooped.
He said: “As I was coming back I just saw loads of people running up the Prom.
“I saw armed police and three BMWs cut this guy off as he was driving and then they penned him in.
“They had machine guns pointed at him. They got him outside the car and put handcuffs on him.
“I would say there were around eight police cars and five armed police.
“He was in his early 20s. The girl he was with was in her 20s too.
“I was excited but in shock too – it happened so quickly.
“The Promenade was full of people wanting to see what had happened, it was like the air show was on or something.”
Raj’s father, Nathan, 56, owner of the Gainsborough Hotel, added: “Someone must have tipped off the police.
“It was executed like textbook. It was well planned.”
Adam Lancaster, owner of the Funky House hotel, next door to the Gainsborough Hotel, added: “We heard shouting and screaming, as well as a helicopter.
“I came to the front of the hotel and saw police with machine guns surrounding a car.
“We’ve never had anything like that before.
“Someone said it was someone on the run.
“When we first heard all the noise we thought it was a stag do - the prom was shut for at least 40 minutes.”
Frank Swords, 72, from Oldham, added: “I saw all the police outside.
“They arrested one chap and a girl too. It was like something out of a film.
“There were six vans and a couple of cars, it must have been something serious.”
The arrests, which involved up to eight police cars and a police helicopter, followed the incident in Bradford on Friday.
Around 3.15pm, a man shot a woman, who was with her young child at the time, twice inside her house in Longfield Drive, in the East Bowling area.
It is believed they were inside the house when shots were fired through windows in the front door and the kitchen.
She was left with serious but not life threatening stomach injuries and was taken to hospital.
The woman’s child, at home at the time, was not injured.
Assistant Chief Constable Mark Milsom of West Yorkshire Police, revealed two other men were arrested on Saturday in relation to Friday’s attack.
He added: “People in the communities we serve can be safe in the knowledge that we treat firearms incidents extremely seriously.
“As soon as the call came in about this incident we immediately dispatched officers, including armed response officers, to the scene to offer a reassuring presence and investigate what happened.
“Inquiries began immediately to trace a man we wanted to speak to in connection with the incident and we worked through the night with our colleagues in Lancashire Police.
“A 24-year-old man was arrested and two other men and a woman have also been arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender - all were arrested in Lancashire.”
Those arrested are still being questioned in connection with the incident.