A motorist was left with a bill for £150 after a police operation mistakenly used a stinger device on the wrong vehicle.
Armed officers were trying to capture ‘high-risk’ suspect Nicholas Caple, who has been linked to a number of thefts including stealing cash machines. But instead left 32-year-old Nathan Poole stranded.
Poole had been driving to pick up his two-year-old daughter when his van was brought to an abrupt halt by officers, who then ordered the satellite engineer out of the vehicle at gun point after being mistakenly identified as a wanted man.
Luckily officers soon realised their mistake, but the man from Poole of Droitwich in Worcestershire was told to arrange his own rescue truck to take the vehicle home and buy four new tyres at a cost of £150, having declined the offer of being towed to a police compound.
Speaking to the Sun newspaper, Poole said: “I nearly had a heart attack when it happened. Two police pointed guns at me. It was scary.
“I was distracted by a man who was hiding behind a tree. He popped his head out which made me take my eyes off the road.”
“The next thing I knew was there was a noise under the van and all my tyres had gone. I originally thought I had driven over an animal or something. I lost four hours and was 80 miles from home. It ruined my day.”
Avon and Somerset police said the stinger incident, which took place near Ston Easton in the country of Somerset, was “entirely appropriate” and told Poole he could reclaim the money from the police force.
A spokesperson for Avon and Somerser Constabulary said: “This man was stopped by officers during the unfolding investigation to locating a high risk wanted person.
“No firearms were drawn and the man was told to return to his vehicle for his own safety – this was a busy road. He was then driven by officers to a recovery centre where his vehicle was taken.
“He was contacted later the same day by an officer to explain why this had happened but if he is unhappy with this, we would ask that he makes a formal complaint. We can then look into the full circumstances around this.”
29-year-old Caple is said to be still at large and wanted in connection with assaulting a police officer among other crimes. He managed to avoid capture after evading officers during a raid at the Marriot Hotel in Bristol.