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Monday, 8 July, 2002, 13:34 GMT 14:34 UK
Police shoot man on the M6
Scene of the incident on the M6 near wigan
The man was shot in the leg
A man has been shot by a police marksman on the M6 near Wigan.

Greater Manchester Police say the man threatened officers with what they believed to be a firearm.

The incident began at 0320 BST when officers followed a car from St Helen's, Merseyside, onto the motorway.

As a result of the incident, the M6 was closed in both directions between junction 26 at Orrell and 27 at Standish causing disruption to rush hour traffic.


The man then got out of his car and threatened officers with what was believed to be a firearm

ACC Graham Barker

Armed officers from Merseyside and Lancashire Police helped Greater Manchester Police to stop the car on the motorway.

Once it reached the Wigan area the driver hit a crash barrier alongside the hard shoulder.

Merseyside Assistant Chief Constable Graham Barker said: "Armed officers from Merseyside and Lancashire were joined by unarmed officers from Greater Manchester at the scene.

"The man then got out of his car and threatened officers with what was believed to be a firearm.

"The man was challenged by officers to put the weapon down.

"Officers from Lancashire Constabulary contained the scene whilst armed response officers from Merseyside tried to negotiate with the man.

"The incident escalated and officers, unable to persuade the man to put the weapon down and fearing for their safety, discharged their weapons."

Mr Barker declined to answer questions, or to reveal whether the alleged firearm was a genuine gun.

He added: "It would be inappropriate to comment any further on the detail of the incident as the matter has been referred to the Police Complaints Authority."

The injured man has been taken to Wigan Infirmary with leg wounds.

Traffic chaos

There was heavy congestion on the motorway and on surrounding roads throughout the morning.

An AA Roadwatch spokesman said the closure of one of the country's busiest motorways caused rush hour chaos.

There were at least eight miles of stationary traffic southbound and also traffic jams northbound.

"There has been a knock-on effect and surrounding roads are also congested," said the spokesman.

"Our advice is to avoid the area completely."

The northbound carriageway was reopened at 1400 BST, about two hours after traffic returned to the southbound lanes.

However, traffic is still very heavy in the area.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Kevin Bocquet
"It began with a high speed car chase"

Click here to go to Manchester
See also:

25 Jun 02 | England
04 Jan 02 | UK
13 Dec 01 | England
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