Halstead: Eye-witness gives account of bin man shooting

A MAN has described what happened when a council bin man was shot in the head with an air gun while collecting rubbish.

The 26-year-old victim received facial injuries and was rushed to hospital for treatment.

Armed police were called to the scene in White Horse Avenue, Halstead, at 8am yesterday and began a manhunt for the gunman.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing a white van leaving the area and collide with a cyclist, who suffered minor injuries.

Residents were told to stay indoors while a cordon was put in place and police officers examined the area.

A 29-year-old man was arrested at 11.45am in connection with the incident in Chapel Hill, Braintree and he remained in police custody last night.

A police spokesman confirmed that an air weapon was recovered by officers from a property in nearby Blenheim Close, also in Braintree.

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Eyewitness Stephen Mann, who lives in White Horse Avenue, said he had seen a white van pull up and that it was “bibbing the horn” at the dust cart before he heard a shot fired.

He added: “His (the binman’s) glasses were hit and there was some blood around his face. The van drove off at speed towards Tidings Hill. As he turned he hit a cyclist.

“Everybody came out to see what had happened then suddenly police were here walking up and down the street. We weren’t allowed to leave the area for two hours while the cordon was up.

“Halstead is a quiet town, so this is quite a shock.”

The victim, who works for Braintree District Council, was collecting recycling bags with a colleague at the time of the attack.

He was taken to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford and later discharged.

A council spokeswoman said: “This is an unprecedented incident and we are relieved that our member of staff only received superficial injuries, although he was understandably shaken by the incident.

“He is now at home resting and our priority is to give him and his colleague who witnessed the incident our full support in any way we can. Despite the nature of the incident both members of staff acted in an extremely calm and professional manner.”

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