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Probe after man shot by police

The actions of police who opened fire on an armed man at his village house after he threatened his wife are being examined by investigators.

Neighbours heard several loud bangs in Borers Arms Road, Copthorne, West Sussex, after firearms officers tried to persuade the man to drop his weapon.

Armed police were sent to the three-bedroom detached house after the man's frightened wife dialled 999 at 10pm on Monday, saying he had threatened her and had access to guns.

One neighbour in the quiet residential road described hearing one loud bang from the back of the property followed by at least four more from the front.

The 55-year-old man suffered an injury to his hand and wrist and police officers administered first aid to him before he was arrested. He was admitted to the New East Surrey Hospital in Redhill, Surrey, but has since been transferred to a hospital in south west London. His injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

The police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), will examine the actions of the Sussex Police officers involved in the stand-off. Firearms and ammunition were found at the house but further examination will take place before confirmation of what type of guns they are, an IPCC spokesman said.

Beverley Hewitt, who lives opposite the house where the shooting took place, said she heard police officers urge the man to put his gun down during tense negotiations. After a series of loud bangs, 46-year-old Mrs Hewitt said, she saw the man emerge from the house supported by police before being led into an ambulance.

Mrs Hewitt said the man, known to her only as Ian, had lived at the property with his unnamed wife for more than 10 years. She said: "He was always very friendly with me. However, he could be quite grumpy sometimes. If people parked in the lay-by by his house he would leave nasty notes."

Describing what first alerted her to the incident, she said: "It was the shouting that made us look. It happened at the end of Spooks on the television. There was initially one shot that came from the back of the property. Then we heard over the radios someone say 'He's down'. Then I think I heard four more shots with flashes from the front. They then brought the woman out. She was really worried about her dog. She was probably in shock. The police were saying they were just worried about her safety."

The front door of the house was on Tuesday covered with blue tarpaulin and a Mercedes estate sat on the driveway as police stood guard outside.

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