A builder finally gave himself up three days after he armed himself with a shotgun and barricaded himself inside his family home when his wife walked out on him.
Mark ‘Budgie’ Clarke, 42, refused to come out of the £450,000 property in Crowfield, Suffolk, after his wife Aimee, 29, left with their young daughter.
Armed police remained outside the detached house throughout as trained negotiators tried to talk him round.
Meanwhile officers were forced to sleep inside the nearby village hall as the siege went on for nearly 65 hours.
After Mark finally walked out at around 4pm on Wednesday, a close source said: “Everyone’s really relieved. No one’s been hurt and he finally saw sense.
“He did well to last three days but his family are looking forward to getting back to normality.”
Police were called to concerns for self-employed builder Mark’s safety at around 11.15pm on Monday.
Neighbours said his wife Aimee, 29, who works in marketing, had walked out on him on Friday night – taking their young daughter with her.
A family member, who didn’t wish to be named, said: He said: “He hasn’t got any issues but if your misses leaves you want to have a drink and drown away your sorrows.
“He is innocent. The police turned up with all this hardware and he was scared shi*less. No wonder he won’t come out of the house. Would you?
“I don’t know if it’s a comment made in passing but the next thing I knew there were loads of armed police at his door.
“Mark doesn’t have guns but there are guns on the premises. His wife has a gun licence but they were kept in a locked cabinet that he didn’t have access to.”
A close neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said: “I heard that Budgie (Mark Clarke) was in a standoff with the police.
“His wife left him a fortnight ago and apparently he decided that he was going to commit suicide.”
She added: “Most people around here are farmers and have guns so it would not surprise me if he had one.
“Apparently he threatened to kill himself or anyone who would get close to him.
“I just don’t understand why it took so long to solve, officers have apparently been sleeping in the village hall during this.
“I’ve heard his wife left him but that’s all we have heard. It’s all very sad.”
Mark, who drove a Mercedes C220, had recently been convicted of drink driving for the fourth time, but was described by locals as a “really nice bloke”.
Another neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “He got done drink driving when he went out one night about three years and rightly or wrongly got into his car and drove home.
“But he hasn’t got a problem.
“He is a really nice little bloke. He is a kind, gentle guy. Everywhere he goes he is the centre of the crowd.
“He is a happy go lucky guy who is just going through a bit of crap and everybody has jumped on him and I think it is really wrong.”
During the three-day siege, the atmosphere in the village was described as “eerie” by residents who said they were “shut up” in their homes.
One, who asked not to be named, said: “It was very eerie, with the police cordon.
“I went in to check on a relative and everybody seems to be shut up.”
A female relative of Mark, believed to be his sister-in-law who lives nearby, said: “No comment, bye bye” when asked about the siege.
Glen Marney, who works nearby, said there was a heavy police presence when he arrived in the village on Tuesday morning.
He said: “It’s surprising to have something like this happen in such a small village, especially as there are so many police cars scattered about the place.
“You could see the police with their guns – which were medium size, not small – hiding behind the doors of their BMWs.”
Residents said it was unusual to see the police in Crowfield, Suffolk, which is the “kind of place you could leave your door unlocked”.
One man joked: “A missing wheelbarrow was the biggest crime we’ve had here.”
A lady who gave her name as Kerry, added: “It’s a lovely place to live, there’s never any problems here.”
Elsewhere, a local brewery confirmed that the stand-off wasn’t causing any disruption to their rounds.
In a tweet, Hell Hound Brewery said yesterday (Weds): “Suffolk deliveries will NOT be affected by the three day one man armed siege in Crowfield.
“If anyone in area needs beer, holler.”
A Suffolk Police spokesman confirmed the incident had been resolved peacefully and said a 42-year-old man was arrested at around 3.30pm on Wednesday.
A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service said they had been on the scene but were stood down by police and weren’t required to treat anyone.
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