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Police search for gunman ruins couple’s getaway weekend

A holidaying couple yesterday described their surprise at unwittingly being at the centre of the hunt for Raoul Moat.

Richard Pettett (56) and Linda Williams (57), from Ashford in Kent, are enjoying a week's break in Rothbury.

Instead of seeing the Northumberland countryside, they have found themselves confined to their bed and breakfast at Wagtail Farm — the scene of a number of police searches in recent days, including last night.

Ms Williams, a gardener for the National Trust, said: “When we came back last night we thought we were clear because Rothbury was completely clear of the police that have been around for the last two or three days, until we hit the top of the lane and we were asked not to come down.

“We explained we were staying at the B&B and they radioed down and said everything was clear so far and we could enter the property.

“So here we are this morning hoping we can get out and do something else today. But we will have to wait and see.”

Her partner, an engineer, described the scene at the farm as police carried out searches of nearby farmland.

“Last night there was at least nine or 10 fully armed police. There was a Metropolitan Police dog patrol sitting here,” Mr Pettett said.

“There were two other armed police with dogs just wandering round the property and up through the woods.

“Up through the back there is a railway cutting, and searching up all the way through there. That went on to about 11pm.

“It all went a bit quiet, they dispersed and went away, which is a little bit disconcerting thinking that they think he's here and now they are all going to disappear.

“Obviously we don't know if there were any officers in the bushes hiding out all night or whether they just all completely went and left us to it.

“It was a bit of a night sleeping with one eye open and really just wondering if you could hear anything, but nothing seemed to happen.”

Ms Williams said she was not particularly worried about the number of police in the local area.

“We were completely surrounded by the police but I didn't get to sleep until 3.30am this morning because I was on tenterhooks just wondering at every little sound and if something is happening,” she said.

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