We've got him, we've got him

Police arrest Mark Hobson in service station on A19 after owner's wife came out shouting... Reporting team: David Garner, Brian Dooks, Rob Waugh, Dave Mark, Lyn Barton, Maggie Stratton. BRITAIN'S most wanted man was caught yesterday after a sharp-eyed North Yorkshire garage owner recognised Mark Hobson as he tried to buy some cigarette papers, matches and water.

Elderly Derek North, owner of JD North garage on the A19 at Shipton-by-Beningbrough, ran out to raise the alarm while at the same time the owner of the next-door upholstery shop, who had also spotted Hobson, called the police.

Hobson was later understood to be in hospital in Harrogate. Police refused to confirm reports that Hobson was suffering from an abdominal injury, but officers were seen on guard outside the hospital and around a sealed-off bed inside the complex.

Robert Hindmarsh, 26, who took his young son to the Accident and Emergency department at Harrogate District Hospital, said a bed there had curtains pulled around it and was surrounded by four police officers.

The dramatic end to the week-long nationwide search for the man suspected of killing frail elderly couple James and Joan Britton and 27-year-old twins Claire and Diane Sanderson, came at 3.43pm.

Within minutes armed police officers surrounded the area 10 miles from Strensall, where Mr and Mrs Britton lived.

A dishevelled-looking Hobson, thought to have been sleeping rough for a week, was found in a barn 10 minutes walk from the garage.

Earlier upholsterer Robin Wilson, 32, owner of Oakdale Upholstery next to the garage where Hobson was seen, described events leading to the arrest. He and Mr North both telephoned the police.

He said: "I saw this scruffy guy going into North's garage. He bought a packet of cigarette wraps, a bottle of water and some matches.

"When he came back out I was only a few feet away from him. He was looking down, he was scruffy, he had dirty jeans and he was not on this planet. He did not want eye contact at all."

He said he thought Hobson had been living rough in bushes next to his shop.

Police were at the scene minutes after he and Mr North, who is believed to be in his seventies, had made the call to the police and he described seeing armed police pinning Hobson to the ground before he was taken away in a convoy of police vehicles.

Eye witness Ann Hainsworth said she had seen Hobson, a former dustman, on the floor surrounded by police. Four police vehicles pulled up behind him on the garage forecourt before the owner's wife dashed outside.

"Mrs North came out and said: 'We have caught him, we have got him'," said her husband, Trevor Hainsworth.

"Derek North then came outside and I said 'What's happening?' and he said, 'We have got him'. Derek told me that he recognised Hobson straight away." Hobson was said to have immediately confirmed his identity when confronted by officers and then taken in an armoured van for questioning.

Last night the Chief Constable of North Yorkshire, Della Cannings, visited the scene. Police sealed off an area behind the community centre.

The arrest came after a seven-day hunt which involved more than 300 officers and 12 police forces across the country. There were 2,000 reported sightings of Hobson.

North Yorkshire Police received more than 400 calls in 24 hours after 10,000 leaflets were handed out to race-goers in York and his ex-wife made

a plea for him to give himself up.

The huge manhunt was triggered by the discovery of the bodies of the twins at 8am on Sunday last week.

Their father George had found his two daughters at a flat in Camblesforth, near Selby, which Claire shared with Hobson, her boyfriend.

Both twins were naked, with Claire's partially decomposed body wrapped in plastic bin liners. Both appeared to have suffered a violent assault and Diane had been sexually assaulted.

Claire had been last seen on July 11, and had been dead anumber of days when the bodies were found in the same room.

Three hours later, the bodies of Mr and Mrs Britton, aged 80 and 82, were discovered by neighbours at their 400,000 home at Strensall, 25 miles away.

Mr Britton, whose body was in the sitting room, died from a stab wound in the back and had been the victim of a severe beating. Mrs Britton, whose body was found in the hall, had also been severely beaten and had a single stab wound to the back.

Last night Deputy Chief Constable Roger Baker last night thanked the public for their 'magnificent support'. Detective Superintendent Javad Ali, who has led the murder inquiry, added: "The thoughts of all of us are with the families and friends of those who have lost their lives."

On Thursday Hobson's mother Sandra made a tearful plea to her son to give himself up. The following day, Christine Wilkins, the daughter of Mr and Mrs Britton, made another emotional plea for the chief suspect to turn himself in.

Shipton-by-Beningbrough resident Eric Roberts said he had seen a "dishevelled" man hanging around the village earlier in the week and wondered if it was the suspect "but thought no one would be stupid enough to use a shop in those circumstances.

"He looked like he had been sleeping rough," said Mr Roberts.

Craig Herbert, 21, of Authitts Cottages in Shipton-by-Beningbrough, said: "Derek North is already a legend in this village.

"He's a great guy and really funny and I know he's confronted burglars before. He wouldn't be scared of anyone."