Public intervene to stop hijacking in Co Down

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The public and the police have been praised for their quick response to a suspected hijacking incident in Banbridge town centre last night (Wednesday).

DUP MLA Carla Lockhart said the incident occurred during the evening rush hour and involved a female motorist being dragged from her car which was then taken from her.

The Upper Bann representative said the car subsequently collided with several other vehicles whilst the culprits attempted to get away.

The MLA said: “At this stage we don’t know the full circumstances of the incident or how these thieves came to be in the town centre but my first thought is for the female motorist involved in this incident and those whose vehicles have been damaged as a result. This is a particularly frightening and horrific ordeal.

“I would commend the PSNI for their response but the members of the public who intervened deserve our thanks for the detention and subsequent arrest of two suspects. After subjecting the lady to the ordeal of losing her vehicle these two people then hit several others cars as they made their escape. Thankfully vigilant locals stepped in to prevent this.

“I am encouraged that the police were in the area at the time on patrol and that will reassure locals that Banbridge is receiving the attention promised. We need to see this maintained and more resources assigned to operational policing with incident like this and burglaries on the rise.”

Detectives confirmed they are investigating a hijacking in Banbridge yesterday.

Sergeant Patrick Dougan said: “A woman was attempting to exit a car park in Church Square at around 5.40pm, when two men approached her silver Toyota Corolla.

“One of the men told her to get out of the car before grabbing the keys from the ignition. The woman was then pulled from the vehicle and the pair got in, making off in the direction of the town centre.

“Police then received reports that the Corolla had been involved in two collisions in Kenlis Street and on the Newry Road several minutes after the highjacking. Responding officers found two males being detained by members of the public on Newry Road. Both men were arrested on suspicion of highjacking and a range of driving offences. They remain in custody at present.

“The Corolla has been located by police and has been seized for examination.

“We are keen to hear from witnesses or anyone who may have captured any part of this incident on their phone or dashcam. Detectives can be contacted by calling 101, quoting reference number 1061 24/01/18.”