THE HUNT for the gunman who has terrorised the New Forest continues into the new year as the fourth man arrested is released on bail.

Keith Michael Laidler, of Bramtoco Way, Totton, was arrested on Friday in connection with the two armed robberies but was released on bail until mid-February.

But he has been charged in connection with a completely separate incident and appeared at Southampton Magistrates’ Court yesterday accused of attempted robbery and possession of an imitation firearm.

The charges relate to an attempted robbery at McColls convenience store in Longstock Crescent, Totton, on October 21.

He is the fourth man to be released on bail by detectives investigating two armed robberies in the New Forest last month. Officers are currently working with forensic teams who have taken DNA samples from the cars of two victims in a bid to trace the gunman.

Last week it was revealed that a £5,000 reward was offered in a bid to track down the man responsible for raids at Brockenhurst Railway Station and at a couple’s home in Lymington.

A police drawing of the suspect was also released, sparking several calls to officers after it was published by the Daily Echo. The first robbery happened at around 6.30am on December 4, shortly after the victim had parked his Porsche at Brockenhurst Railway Station.

The gunman ordered him back into his car and they drove around before the robber forced the man to withdraw and hand over a large amount of cash.

In the second attack, a husband and wife were held hostage in their own home by the gunman, who then drove the 64-year-old woman around Lymington before returning her home.



Detectives have already arrested a 48-year-old man from Lymington and a 44-year-old New Milton man over the raids.

They have been released on police bail, pending inquiries, until February.

A third man, a 44-year-old from Lymington, was arrested but later released without charge.