There was a new development in the exciting Raoul Moat/Police war this morning when the man leading the hunt for the alleged killer announced that the two sides had decided to call a halt to all hostilities, and had agreed to peace talks.
Former bouncer Moat, 37, declared war on the police earlier this week in a 49-page handwritten letter, which was also handed to The Sun newspaper. In it, Moat said:
"Last night I called 999 and declared war on Northumbria Police before shooting an officer on the West End A69 roundabout in his T5. I rang again and told them they're gonna pay for what they've done to me and Sam. I went straight but they couldn't let it go. Now, it's war!"
It's unclear from the letter, who 'Sam' is, but frankly, who cares?
Initially, Moat made an attack on Newcastle before moving his forces up through the Northumbrian countryside as far as Birtley, Gateshead, but last night he had pulled them back to an area around Rothbury, and had 'dug in' amongst some woods. It was not known how many men he had under his control, but police said they believed it was enough to sustain a long campaign that might last into the winter. Probably just himself.
Echoes of Rambo were ringing in the ears of the inept Northumbria force, until news came this morning that Moat 'wanted to talk'. A meeting will be held later today at a secret location - possibly Liechtenstein - at which surrender terms may be discussed.
Moat will then be put in the back of an unmarked white Transit van, whereupon the shit will be royally kicked out of him by several burly police officers.
*Former Tory MP Douglas Hogg has asked us to make it clear that Raoul Moat is in no way connected to the moat that Mr Hogg had dredged on his MP's expenses at a cost of £2,115.