Town rocked by shooting of former mayor
- Credit: Sarah Hussain
The shooting of an Attleborough councillor has caused widespread shock in the town.
Tony Crouch, a former mayor, was injured after being shot in the arm with an air rifle during an incident on Monday morning. Police have launched an investigation.
Armed officers and paramedics were called to Carver's Lane, in the town, at 9.15am and Mr Crouch was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. His injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.
The dramatic news of his shooting was revealed to stunned fellow councillors at a town council meeting on Monday evening - which was being streamed live on the internet at the time.
Fellow councillor Anthony Busk told those present that Mr Crouch had intended to be there but was unable to attend, because "he was shot".
Mr Busk added: "Tony Crouch is in hospital this morning. He was shot."
He said: "The reason he's not here, he intended to be here, was this morning, somebody shot him and he's in hospital."
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Teams from Norfolk Constabulary yesterday carried out extensive searches of gardens and fields near to Carver's Lane.
Police did not reveal what they were searching for but a spokeswoman for Norfolk Constabulary said it was part of an ongoing investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident.
One property was cordoned off.
Neighbours spoke of their shock at seeing armed police in the country lane. One local described the moment officers first arrived at the scene on Monday morning.
"I was so shocked, the police were here for quite a long time – there were at least half a dozen of them.
“I was told to get back into my house and then they came and knocked on the door and asked if had heard any shooting in the field opposite and I said ‘no, I had not heard anything.’
“I was working so was oblivious to it.
“I didn’t notice anything and looked out the door and saw all the police cars all parked down the lane.
“Police said someone had been injured from a firearm incident."
Another neighbour said there were about eight police cars- three armed response units and two police dog units.
He said: “I’ve never seen anything like that before. It’s a pretty quiet lane.”
He added: “It’s the lack of understanding about what’s going on that’s concerning.
“I did ask police ‘should we be concerned?’ but they said ‘no you’re fine, go in the house’.
Attleborough’s mayor Philip Leslie said he had been contacted by the police after the meeting, who confirmed there was no risk to the general public and the matter was unrelated to Mr Crouch’s role as a councillor.
He added: "The police wanted to assure me that there is no risk to the general public and a suspect has been apprehended and the investigation is ongoing but the matter is unrelated to him being a councillor."
In a further twist, having been told of Mr Crouch's injury at the council meeting, Mr Leslie then went on to explain that Mr Crouch was actually being removed from the authority because he had not attended a meeting for six months.
He added: "As of January 6, 2022 councillor Crouch had not attended a meeting for six months.
"Prior to this meeting, he had already expired past the point where he could represent as a councillor."
When a councillor fails to attend a council meeting for six consecutive months under the local government act 1972 they stop being a member of the authority.
A police spokeswoman confirmed officers were sent to an incident on Carver's Lane shortly after 9.15am on Monday, January 10, following reports a man had been shot in the arm with an air rifle.
She confirmed a man in his 60s had been taken to the Norwich and Norfolk Hospital for treatment and his injuries are not believed to be life threatening.
A man in his 20s was arrested for grievous bodily harm and possession of a firearm but was later released on bail.
He is set to reappear at the Wymondham Police Investigation Centre on February 4.