Sussex Police has apologised to two men who were arrested and tasered in Bexhill after a case of mistaken identity.
The incident took place after police were called to reports of an attempted armed robbery at Sidley Post Office in Ninfield Road on Tuesday (August 29).
Police say a man, armed with what was thought to have been a firearm, had entered and demanded money from staff, but fled empty-handed shortly afterwards.
No one was injured in the robbery attempt although it was initially reported that shots had been fired, police said.
At 5.48pm, around an hour after the initial call, an armed police team stopped a car in London Road. It was driven by 49-year-old Dan Sullivan who had been out shopping with his 74-year-old father John.
Police say they were arrested and tasers were discharged at both men during the arrests. They were de-arrested later the same evening after it became clear they had not been involved in the robbery.
The men received an apology from District Commander Chief Inspector Steve Curry on Wednesday afternoon (August 30).
Speaking to the Bexhill Observer on Thursday (August 31), John said both he and his son suffer from mobility issues – himself from repeated knee surgeries and Dan from a serious back injury which requires him to wear a support cage around his waist. He said they were tasered after they were unable to respond to orders to get down.
He said: “An apology is not good enough. This needs to be looked at properly. I can hardly move at all today.
“I’m glad it’s being investigated, I can’t believe they thought we could have had anything to do with this.”
A Sussex Police spokesman said: “At 5.48pm, following information received, a car was stopped by armed police officers in London Road, Bexhill, and the two occupants, a 49-year old man who was driving and a 74-year-old man who was the passenger, both local to Bexhill, were detained on suspicion of involvement in the attempted robbery. The road was closed as the scene was secured for forensic examination. Tasers were discharged at both men during the arrests.
“Both received prompt after-care for the taser discharges, and suffered no ill-effects.
“The 49-year old man was taken in custody to the Conquest Hospital to be treated for back pain but was discharged from hospital later in the evening, and whilst there was formally de-arrested.
“The 74-year old man was detained at Hastings police station while enquiries were made and once it was confirmed that he there was no evidence of his involvement in the offence he too was released, at 9.46pm.
“District Commander, Chief Inspector Steve Curry, met both men on Wednesday afternoon (August 30) to apologise and facilitate a complaint which will be investigated by the force’s Professional Standards Department.”
Anyone with information about the attempted robbery is asked to call 101 quoting serial 1122 of 29/08.
Photo by Dan Jessup.