Hunting for gunman who fired at vehicle on A264

Searching for a gunman in 1970 SUS-151102-135819001
Searching for a gunman in 1970 SUS-151102-135819001

Anyone who has seen a sniffer dog or tracker dog at work will know they are enthusiastic souls who wag their way through every job required of them.

This German Shepherd was on the lookout for a gunman who was believed to have fired a shot at a car on the A264.

On September 18 1970, the Crawley & District Observer (published on Fridays at a cost of 8d) reported:

“Police used a tracker dog in a futile search for a mystery gunman on the A264 Crawley-Horsham road after the driver of a British Rail personnel carrier claimed that a bullet had shattered his windscreen.

“Driver Denbis Coomber, 44, of Bricklands, Crawley Down, a trackman for British Rail and driver of the vehicle, a Morris, ran to a nearby house to call the police.

“‘I am sure it was a bullet or something because there was no traffic in front of me or going the other way,’ he said.

“The ‘missile’ made a small quarter-inch hole in the centre of the windscreen causing the rest of the glass to shatter.

“Other men in the vehicle, which was on its way to Littlehaven Halt, near Horsham, were Mr Richard Tame, of Ifield Road, West Green; Colin Saunders, of Cook Road, Tilgate; Tim Heath, of Durham Close, Tilgate; Peter Lillywhite, of Shipley Road, Ifield; and Geoff Muggeridge, of Littlehaven Halt.

“A Crawley Police constable arrived at the scene and made a search of the vehicle for a bullet but nothing was found.

“Two more constables from Horsham arrived and a search of the wooded area was made. Later, a handler and his police dog also made a search but again nothing was found.”

Does anyone know whether a gunman was ever found or if the windscreen had simply fallen foul of a particularly nasty stone?And does anyone know the names of the dog or his handler?