Page last updated at 16:52 GMT, Saturday, 10 October 2009 17:52 UK

Police pursue helicopter vandals

Queensway Tunnel
Police believe the gang changed cars in the tunnel

Vandals who tried to destroy a police force helicopter were then pursued across Merseyside, resulting in a police car going up in flames.

The gang had managed to break into RAF Woodvale in Southport before fleeing in a Mitsubishi Shogun on Friday night.

Officers followed the offenders, who they think used at least three cars in the pursuit, which ended in Liverpool.

The police car caught fire after colliding with one of the cars the suspects were thought to have used.

Three men have been arrested.

A Merseyside Police spokesman said the first car involved in the chase from the airfield was a Mitsubishi Shogun, which was later found burnt out on Moore Lane, Altcar.

A short time later a silver Audi A4 with blacked out windows was seen travelling at high speed along Formby bypass with a number of people on board.

Officers from Merseyside Police have launched a far-reaching investigation after the force helicopter was targeted
Supt Jonathan Roy

Officers tracked and pursued the vehicle from Southport to Liverpool city centre.

The car then entered the Queensway tunnel where it was abandoned.

At about the same time another vehicle, a black Audi S8, left the tunnel at speed in the direction of Liverpool city centre. Police believe the suspects changed vehicles in the tunnel.

The Audi was then pursued by officers to Upper Parliament Street. The two vehicles crashed in Upper Hampton Street, where the police car went up in flames and an officer suffered minor injuries.

Supt Jonathan Roy said: "Officers from Merseyside Police have launched a far-reaching investigation after the force helicopter was targeted on Friday night."

All of the men arrested remained in custody and police said enquiries were ongoing.

The Queensway Tunnel remained closed while the abandoned vehicle was removed. The other abandoned vehicles have been recovered and are being forensically examined.



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