Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Warning as Threat from Gunman Widens; Now Random Members of Public Targeted

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Warning as Threat from Gunman Widens; Now Random Members of Public Targeted

Article excerpt

Byline: Joanne Butcher ;Adam Jupp

POLICE hunting for Raoul Moat last night urged hundred of villagers of stay out of secluded areas of the countryside after the fugitive gunman raised his threat to include random members of the public.

Hundreds of people living around Rothbury converged on the village's Jubilee Hall to seek assurances from Northumbria Police after officers revealed they had reason to believe Moat could now be targeting the public rather than force officers alone.

Acting chief constable Sue Sim and Northumberland area commander Chief Superintendent Mark Dennett urged people in Rothbury to be vigilant and agreed to station officers at schools in the Rothbury area after locals demanded increased safety. But they said that police would not smother Rothbury and praised members of the public for providing information that had led to two crucial arrests in the ongoing inquiry.

Mrs Sim said: "You are telling us we would prefer to have police officers at the school, you can have police officers at the school while the school is open."

Rothbury last night remained at the centre of the huge manhunt for Moat, who is thought to be armed with one or two weapons and a stockpile of ammunition.

The fugitive has vowed not to stop killing "till I'm dead" in a letter to Northumbria Police, whom he blames for the loss of his children, girlfriend and liberty. Chief Supt Dennett said: "We still believe Mr Moat's main grievances are against the police. However, more information received indicates Mr Moat may now pose a threat to the wider public. There is a heightened risk but nothing to suggest Mr Moat is intending to target a specific part of the community. Our message is to go on with your business as usual but to be vigilant." Tensions were raised in Rothbury yesterday lunchtime when Det Chief Supt Neil Adamson, the man leading the hunt for Moat, revealed he has threatened the public as well as the police.

Det Chief Supt Adamson also revealed that two more men have been arrested in Rothbury on suspicion of assisting an offender and warned others not to help Moat.

Two other alleged accomplices yesterday appeared before Newcastle magistrates accused of being part of Moat's conspiracy to hunt down and kill policemen, with the court hearing both were present when Moat shot a policeman in Newcastle. …

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