Update: Prime Minister condemns “terrible crime” in wake of double murder at Willow Park traveller site in Beck Row
AN investigation is underway after two men were found dead with gunshot wounds at a traveller site in Suffolk late last night.
Neighbours near the Willow Park travellers site in Beck Row are being interviewed by officers today after the shooting.
Armed police discovered the bodies of the men when they were called to the site by a member of the public who reported hearing gun shots around 10.15pm.
On their arrival, officers found a car on fire at the entrance to the site and a man on the ground. He was dead and appeared to have gun shot wounds.
A second body, also a man, was found in the car. He had also appeared to have gun shot wounds.
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Both deaths are being treated as murder.
Nearby residents in the park, which is home to a community of Irish travellers, were evacuated from their homes as gas canisters were known to be on the site.
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None of those living outside of the park were moved from their homes.
Police have placed a cordon at the site and investigations are now underway involving detectives from the Norfolk and Suffolk Joint Major Investigation Team.
At 10.45am, the police cordon was temporarily lifted to allow a private ambulance in to remove the bodies. It was followed, a short while later, by a recovery vehicle.
There was more drama this afternoon when a car being taken away from the site by police caught fire as it was placed on a lorry.
Firefighters were called in to stop the blaze, which happened near the site entrance.
A spokesman for the police said nobody had yet been arrested in connection with the shootings.
It remains unclear whether any weapons have yet been found.
Suffolk’s county policing commander, Chief Superintendent Stewart Gull, said: “We have arranged for extra patrols to be carried out by uniformed officers and our armed response vehicles around Beck Row and we are maintaining a high profile presence in the area.
“Clearly, the investigation is at an early stage – but we believe the deaths are connected to an ongoing dispute.
“I would urge anyone who has any information about this incident – or saw anything suspicious in the vicinity of Willow Park, to contact us immediately.”
West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock said: “Everyone will be shocked and deeply worried by these appalling and violent murders in Beck Row.
“Having spoken to the police, I am reassured that the crimes will be fully investigated and everything will be done to ensure that the killers are pursued with the full force of the law and brought to justice.
“I have also brought the matter to the attention of the Prime Minister, who has joined me in publicly expressing his shock at such a terrible crime.
“He gave his assurance to the House of Commons that everywhere in this country must be subject to the rule of law.”
Kay Sallis, chairman of Beck Row Parish Council, said residents were shocked and horrified at the event.
“Nobody wants to have anyone being killed,” she said.
A spokeswoman for the police said investigators were keeping an open mind about the incident.
She said it was too early in the investigation to say whether the deaths were linked to a shooting at the site last month.
Five men were arrested after a vehicle was shot at around 7.15am on February 17.
Police officers are appealing for anyone who may have seen anything in the area during the evening or anyone with information about the incident to call Suffolk Police on 01473 613500.