Dramatic manhunt ends in arrest

Tradies helped police catch a 26-year-old man hiding in bushes following a dramatic pursuit across Ballarat on Tuesday morning.

Officers first saw the man driving a blue Holden Commodore with false registration plates in Redan but he failed to stop when approached just before 8am.

Speeding off, the driver narrowly missed oncoming traffic along Tait Street and a chase was terminated due to safety reasons.

An hour later officers focused their attention on a rural property west of Ballarat on Haddon-Windermere Road in Cardigan, where the man's blue Holden had been ditched along the roadside about 9am.

It’s believed the offender ran into the property under tree cover, trying to hide.

But police encircled the block and had him surrounded. 

Eventually he was flushed out when road workers saw the man hiding in bushes on his phone and immediately called police. 

Officers rushed to the scene and arrested the offender about 9.30am.

Police initially believed he was linked to an armed robbery and assault involving Ballarat men at a Heywood house near Portland on Sunday night but have since said it was unrelated.

Other officers had found a heavily damaged white Holden Commodore with punctured tyres on Hampden Street off Rubicon Street in Redan earlier on Tuesday morning.

It later emerged that this white Holden was the stolen getaway vehicle used by three men who had assaulted a Ballarat man with a hammer in Heywood on Sunday.

This damaged white Holden was used in a hammer attack in Heywood on Sunday night before it was found dumped in Redan this morning.

This damaged white Holden was used in a hammer attack in Heywood on Sunday night before it was found dumped in Redan this morning.

Police said after the assault the men had taken off in the victim’s car, the white Holden, outside the Heywood house on Woolsthorpe-Heywood Road about 11.45pm.

The three managed to evade police and drove 45 kilometres to Hamilton, where they were seen by officers. 

After speeding through Hamilton the three offenders made their way back to Ballarat before ditching the car in Redan’s Hampden Street, where police found it about 7.30am on Tuesday morning.

Portland-based Sergeant Ray Hastings said the three men and the Ballarat victim had visited a Heywood man at his property along Woolsthorpe-​H​eywood Road.

But then an altercation ensued and the three men turned on the Ballarat victim, attacking him with a hammer.

When police turned up they found the Heywood resident and the hammer attack victim. The other three men had already taken off.

The victim, a man in his 40s, was taken to Portland Base Hospital for assessment after suffering cuts and abrasions to his head in the assault. 

He was later discharged.

“Investigations are ongoing and police are still searching for three outstanding men,” a spokeswoman for Victoria Police said.

Anyone with information on either incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.