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19th September 2012

Two officers killed as police arrest most wanted criminal

Two female Greater Manchester Police officers killed in incident leading to arrest of Manchester’s most wanted fugitive, Dale Cregan

Two female officers were killed during an attack shortly before police arrested Manchester’s most wanted fugitive Dale Cregan.

Unarmed PC Nicola Hughes, 23, and PC Fiona Bone, 32, were shot as they attended a routine call at Abbey Gardens in Hattesley, Tameside shortly before 11am on 18 September.

One officer died at the scene, the other died from her injuries in hospital later the same day.

Cregan handed himself in at Hyde police station afterwards.

Chief Constable Peter Fahy, speaking at a press conference last Tuesday said, “we are all shocked by what happened,” adding it may have been one of the “darkest days” in the history of the police service.

Sir Peter said Cregan is believed to have lured the two constables to their deaths. He said Cregan is thought to have made a bogus 999 call reporting a burglary and then attacked the attending officers, opening fire with a gun and a grenade.

“It would appear Cregan has deliberately done this in an act of cold-blooded murder,” he said.

Prime Minister David Cameron said of the atrocity, “what we have seen is the absolutely despicable act of pure evil

“The cold blooded murder of two female police officers doing their job out there protecting the public, another reminder of the incredible risks and great work our police service does.”

Sir Peter described Miss Hughes as a “great bobby” who was “always smiling” and Miss Bone, who had been in the middle of planning her wedding, as and “excellent bobby.”

Home Secretary Theresa May is cutting her holiday short to travel to Manchester for a meeting with the chief constable.

Cregan was wanted in connection with a gun and grenade attack that killed David Short, 46, on 10 August in Clayton and the shooting of Mr Short’s son Mark at the Cotton Tree pub, Droylsden, on 25 May. He was also arrested on suspicion of the murder of a police officer.

Cregan’s identity was released earlier this month as part of the Greater Manchester Police’s Operation Harvest, a month-long crackdown on fugitives, thugs and thieves.

Greater Manchester Police have also arrested three others from their 36 most wanted criminals.

They could not be named for legal reasons.

The GMP launched the operation on 10 September, which saw the force release the identities of their 36 most wanted criminals to the media as part of a highly publicised campaign geared to bring in thieves, thugs and fugitives.

Police also made 802 arrests, 195 of which were wanted offenders and confiscated £98,795 in 13 cash seizures.

423 arrests were for theft offences and 379 arrests for violent crime. 117 and 78 were wanted criminals, respectively.

Assistant Chief Constable Terry Sweeney who is leading the operation said: “We have made a good start in clearing out the bad apples that spread their rot in our communities and stop law abiding citizens from enjoying the hard earned fruits of their labour through theft and violence.

“However, Operation Harvest is far from over and we will continue our relentless pursuit of thieves, thugs and fugitives in the coming months.

“Criminals can be assured that we will leave no stone unturned in our hunt for them. Any that escape our Harvest can expect a cold, joyless winter of constantly looking over their shoulder for us and wondering who is going to turn them in.

“My advice to them is do yourself and the good people of Greater Manchester a favour and turn yourself in.”

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