Northern Ireland news

Police appeal after car stolen in south Belfast just seconds after owner's 10-year-old daughter escaped

Police have appealed for information

POLICE are appealing for information after a car was stolen in south Belfast just seconds after the owner's 10-year-old daughter escaped from the vehicle.

The young girl had been sitting in the passenger seat of the car belonging to her father Colin Ashwood as he paid for fuel in a garage on Tates Avenue on Tuesday at around 9.20pm.

CCTV footage shows a man get into the grey Seat Leon car, before jumping out after seeing the girl. She quickly gets out of the vehicle and he then returns and steals it.

Mr Ashwood said his daughter had been listening to the radio in the car while he went into the store to pay for his petrol.

"I had turned the car off and left the keys in it," he said.

"She was sitting listening to the radio.

"I put fuel in the car and went into the shop and was at the tills and she came running in squealing saying: 'Daddy, daddy - someone is stealing the car'.

"By the time I got out to the car he had sped away. It is just the way he walks up to the car, gets in and then sees my daughter in the passenger seat before jumping out and running away.

"But then he comes back again. In my eyes he was coming to take the car whether she was there or not.

"My daughter came in shaking and squealing and crying," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

Mr Ashwood said his daughter was "still a bit shocked" by the ordeal.

"I don’t think it has quite set in yet.... It is just the fact someone would do that, he had no masks or hat on no gloves on, he just walked past, an opportunist."

Police have appealed for information.

"A male was seen approaching the vehicle from the direction of Olympia Drive, and making off in it in the direction of Glenmachan Street," a spokesman said.

"The suspect has been described as being approximately 5’ 10” in height, of slim build, and with light brown / ginger hair.

"He was said to be dressed in a grey top and blue bottoms.

"Enquiries are ongoing, and I am appealing to anyone who witnessed this incident, or who may have any information which could assist police, to call 101."

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