Man shot dead in Culcheth, Cheshire, named as Anthony Grainger

The scene of the shooting in Culcheth
Image caption The scene of the shooting is the subject of an IPCC investigation

A man shot dead by police after his car was stopped during "a planned operation" in Cheshire was a convicted criminal, it has emerged.

Anthony Grainger, 35, of Bolton, who had served a prison sentence for handling stolen cars, was stopped by armed police in Culcheth on Saturday.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission said Grainger, who was shot at 19:20 GMT, died from a chest wound.

Three men have been charged with conspiracy to commit robbery.

David Totton, 33, from Manchester, Robert Rimmer, 26, of New Moston, Manchester, and Joseph Travers, 27, of no fixed address, are all charged with conspiracy to commit robbery between 24 January and 3 March.

All three will appear at Manchester Magistrates' Court on Monday.

The operation in Culcheth was carried out by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) officers. GMP said its officers had performed first aid on Grainger but he died at the scene.

An inquest is to be opened on Monday at Warrington Coroner's Court.

In a statement, the IPCC said: "The independent investigation will consider the actions of all the officers at the scene, as well as the planning, decision-making and implementation of the operation which led to the death."

Grainger was a defendant in a drugs trial in Manchester in 2010.

That trial collapsed when juror Joanne Frail used Facebook to contact another defendant, a woman called Jamie Sewart, who had already been acquitted.

Frail was later jailed for contempt of court.

At a retrial, a jury was unable to reach a verdict on Grainger, who was accused of conspiracy to supply drugs, but he was jailed for 20 months after admitting handling stolen cars.

Eyewitness Jessica Brown, 15, said of Saturday's incident: "I saw loads of police cars driving past and I saw three men run past the pizza place with gasmasks on and guns and police chasing them.

"Then my friend's dad came and picked us up and said it wasn't safe to be out here."

Her father Anthony said: "I was just putting out my tea when Jessica ran in screaming. I went to look but the police told me to get inside. It's shocking, Culcheth is normally a quiet village."

A car was later removed from the scene of the shooting, a public car park near Jackson Avenue, which is close to the village supermarket and a care home for the elderly.

Manager of the nearby Cherry Tree pub, Mike Davies, said his chef had been in the back yard at the time.

"He said he heard what he thought was a firework. He saw a whiff of smoke and then he heard screaming.

"We are all pretty gobsmacked that something like this could happen here in Culcheth, a semi-rural village," he added.

Greater Manchester's Deputy Chief Constable, Ian Hopkins, said: "Our thoughts are with the man's family during what will clearly be a very difficult and emotional time, and specially trained family liaison officers have been in contact with the family.

"I want to assure them that ourselves, Cheshire Police and the Independent Police Complaints Commission will carry out a thorough investigation which will establish all the facts."

Cheshire police said patrols had been increased in the area. It said the community of Culcheth "should be reassured that this is an isolated incident and there is no risk to the community as a whole".

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