THE POLICE operation which took place on the Odeon’s rooftop on Tuesday was sparked by a suspected criminal trying to run away from officers.

The high profile incident in Westover Road was attended by uniformed constables, armed officers and the National Police helicopter hovering above.

Bournemouth Inspector Heather Dixey said the operation was sparked when an officer spotted a man in the square and identified him as a wanted criminal.

She said: “After an officer spotted the man he got away and started climbing across the rooftop near the Odeon.

“The officers could not go up there for safety reasons and other officers attended the scene in an attempt to detain the man.”

The suspected offender was not apprehended and investigations are underway to find him.

Armed officers from the armed response unit did attend the scene due to being nearby and the force helicopter was also in the area and could assist.

Insp Dixey added: “This was not a high risk incident – the armed officers are primarily police officers with an added piece of kit so they often attended scenes to assist their colleagues.

“There is no risk to the public from this male.”

The hunt took place at 1.35pm around the Bournemouth Odeon and Premier Inn.

Officers were seen encircling the area in marked and unmarked cars for more than an hour and nearby alleyways leading from Hinton Road were searched.

The majority of the officers left the scene at 3pm.

The exact details of the incident were not released until yesterday.

Previously a spokesperson for Dorset Police had said that the response was in connection with an ‘arrest enquiry’ and refused to give out any more details to the public.

The suspected criminal was wanted by Dorset Police for a low level offence.