Manhunt underway after gunpoint kidnap attempt

Pic: Metropolitan Police

A police manhunt is underway after an attempted kidnapping at gunpoint in Croydon in the early hours of yesterday morning.

A man was bundled into a van at gunpoint by three men in Thornton Heath as he returned home from work at 2:26am Monday morning. He was able to call his wife and tell her to phone the police. Police received another call from a concerned member of the public who had seen the incident take place.

Officers were able to speak to the kidnapping victim while he was in the van, and he relayed his location to the police, who sent a unit to intercept it.

When pursued by the police, the van failed to stop, leading to a high-speed chase. The van was only stopped when it drove down a dead end and was trapped by the police.

Two suspects then left the vehicle, and were both chased down and tasered by police before they were arrested. The suspect was released without serious injury.

However, the third man was not in the van when it was stopped and police did not discover a firearm when they searched the van. A manhunt has now been launched to find the third kidnapper.

UPDATE: The two men arrested have now been charged.

Benjamin Oliveira, 36, of Brierley, New Addington and Aubin Wadman, 22, of Lansdowne Road have both been charged with kidnap, possession of an imitation firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence, and actual bodily harm.

Oliveira has also been charged with dangerous driving.

Detective Inspector Mel Lillywhite said: “This incident is an example of a true team effort. It is with thanks to the member of the public who heard the commotion, the swift actions of the call handler and operators and of course the officers who pursued the vehicle and detained the suspects.

“It’s so important that if you see a crime in action, or something that doesn’t sound or look right, call the police immediately. We would not have been able to respond so quickly if it wasn’t for the member of the public doing the right thing.”

This is not the first kidnapping Croydon has seen in recent years, as in 2018, four men were sentenced to prison for kidnapping a man and holding him to ransom at gunpoint. In 2017, a 24 year-old man was also kidnapped in Thornton Heath, stripped, and threatened with knives and guns.

Anyone who has information concerning this incident is asked to call police on 101 quoting 628/25NOV, Tweet @MetCC or call independent charity Crimestoppers, 100% anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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