From West Mercia Police:
Two men remain in custody after they were arrested yesterday afternoon in connection with a cash in transit robbery that occurred at Hopwood Service Station.
Speaking earlier today a senior police officer has confirmed that the two men remain in custody whilst also making a direct appeal for two, potentially very significant witnesses to come forward.
At around 1.15pm on Thursday 15 August, a number of men approached the driver of a white Mercedes lorry that was carrying cash and then grabbed him as he was parked up having a break in the lorry park.
The driver was bundled into another vehicle and one of the offenders got into the lorry. The lorry was then driven in convoy with two other vehicles – a white Ford Transit van and a black Audi estate – from the lorry park at Hopwood to Alvechurch railway station.
The white Ford Transit van was left at Alvechurch railway station and the stolen lorry and the black Audi estate – which is described as being very shiny – were driven a short distance to Sandhills Green, where the contents of the lorry were unloaded.
Police officers had already been alerted to this incident and quickly traced the vehicles to the railway station and nearby Sandhills Green. The kidnapped driver – who was not injured, the Mercedes lorry and the Ford Transit were soon located.
In addition, a fourth vehicle – a white Volkswagen Transporter – was located on the Birmingham Road near Alvehcurch and this is also being linked to the events of yesterday. The driver of this vehicle, a male aged 49 was arrested.
A short time later – after a pursuit in the West Midlands – the black Audi was located by police officers near Olton Boulevard in Birmingham and a second man – aged 37 – was arrested.
Police can also confirm that money has been recovered as well as the vehicles.
Speaking about this investigation, Superintendent Kevin Purcell said:
“A huge amount of work is ongoing at the present time and we have a number of scenes to deal with – including the lorry park at Hopwood Services and Alvechurch railway station.
“The two men we arrested yesterday remain in custody at the present time and I would expect them to remain with us for at least the rest of today.
“Detectives investigating this robbery are particularly keen to trace some specific witnesses who may have vital information about yesterday’s robbery.
“They are very keen to identify two witnesses who are believed to have been approached and asked for directions by the suspects in the offending Black Audi estate.
“This is believed to have happened in the time period between the attack at Hopwood Services and the vehicles then being abandoned in the Alvechurch area.
“It is known that the black Audi estate stopped at least twice to ask for directions between Hopwood and Alvechurch and that at least one man and one woman were asked for directions.
“We would ask that these individuals come forward and speak to us as soon as is possible because information they have may be absolutely vital to this investigation.
“At this stage there is nothing further I can release about this incident but I would also like to say that we remain keen to speak to anyone who may have seen any of the vehicles involved in this incident at any time between midday and 2.15pm yesterday.
“Tracing the movements of these vehicles is very important to us and therefore I’d ask anyone who may have seen them – or their occupants – to make contact with us as soon as they can.
“The route the convoy of vehicles took between Hopwood Service Station and Alvechurch railway station is of particular interest to us, as is information from anyone who may have seen anything suspicious at Hopwood before the robbery took place at around 1.15pm.
“Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call West Mercia Police on 101 or 0300 333 3000, quoting incident number 299S 150813.
“Alternatively, please remember that information can also be left anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
Cover image by Ian Britton on Flickr