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Police officer attacked with a sledgehammer

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The attack happened on Hampstead Road Credit: ITV News Central

A police officer responding to a report of a raid on a Sandwell cash machine has been attacked with a sledgehammer.

The 41-year-old was one of two officers who were first to arrive at the scene and was targeted by one man in a three-strong gang.

The attack happened shortly before midnight last night during a botched raid at the Tesco Express store ATM on Hamstead Road.

As the window of his police car was smashed the officer was struck in the head and arm with the sledgehammer.

The group then fled in what is believed to be a dark coloured, high powered, Audi A6 estate which was using false number plates.

Chief Inspector Havrvi Khatkar, from West Midlands Police, said:

Day in day out our officers put their safety on the line to protect the public from some exceptionally dangerous criminals.

Thankfully in this case the officer escaped major injury, but these were clearly desperate thieves who must be tracked down.

As the gang drove off, the boot of the car was open. People who were in the area at the time may remember this. I’d urge those people to get in touch along with anyone who saw a dark coloured estate in the area before the crime.

The officer, who is from Sandwell and joined the force in 2007, was taken to hospital and discharged following treatment for multiple cuts, bruising and severe swelling to his face and arm.

The store was closed at the time and no one else was injured. All three men were dressed in dark coloured clothing and had their faces covered.

CCTV footage which may have captured the crime on camera has been secured and is currently scrutinised by detectives.

Tools used in the raid and which were left at the scene have been seized by police for detailed forensic examination.

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Cordon lifted after suspect package deemed 'sterile'

A 100m cordon around West Bromwich High Street has been lifted after explosives experts found a suspect package was not a threat to the public.

A small cordon is still in place around the shop where the package was found.

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WEST BROM road closures now lifted and High St open; small cordon at affected premises. Package deemed sterile & no public danger.

100m cordon around West Brom High Street

A 100m cordon is in place around West Bromwich High Street after a suspect package was found in one of the shops.

The police explosives sniffer dog is currently en route.

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High Street in West Brom town centre is currently closed while officers investigate reports of a suspect package. Motorists advised to avoid

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Police cordon is currently in place and is hoped to be lifted soon. Further updates to follow.

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Day release prisoner re-arrested in Sandwell

Police have re-arrested a man from Sandwell who failed to return to prison while on day-release.

Paul Cook went missing in West Bromwich on Saturday (7 June).

The 33-year-old was on day release from HMP Prison Hewell in Redditch.

Cook was sentenced to four years in prison in February 2012 for burglary.

He is due to appear in court Wolverhampton Magistrates this morning charged with being unlawfully at large.

Firefighters tackle blaze at disused factory

Fifty firefighters are on the scene of a blaze at a disused factory in Smethwick tonight.

Crews were called to London Street shortly after 6.30pm, where they found the large building - which was in the process of being demolished - on fire.

The fire is at a disused factory in London Street, Smethwick
The fire is at a disused factory in London Street, Smethwick Credit: ITV News Central

Cutting equipment has been used and they are tackling the flames from four different locations.

There are not though to be any hazards inside the building.

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