'Carjackers' attack and rob women

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The Independent Online
TWO WOMEN were attacked in their car and robbed in a residential area of Bristol yesterday.

The women, both in their late fifties, were driving in daylight through the St Andrew's district when they were forced off the road by a red car. Men wearing ski- masks and wielding a baseball bat and a scaffold pole began smashing up the women's Vauxhall Cavalier before prising open a door.

One woman was chased and beaten to the ground before having her handbag snatched. The other woman, who left her handbag in the car, escaped uninjured.

The attack follows a spate of 'carjackings' in October when there were four serious incidents in a week. Robbers threatened an antiques dealer with a knife before escaping on the M6 with items worth pounds 100,000; a businesswoman in a BMW was rammed on a rural road in Wales and robbed of wages she had collected from a bank; a man driving a BMW was robbed in Middlesbrough; and a woman had jewellery worth pounds 70,000 taken at gunpoint on the M25.

Inspector Mark Thompson of Avon and Somerset police advised drivers: 'If you think you are being followed continue driving and take the first turning off or do a U-turn. Then head for the nearest police station or crowded area. Do not stop for anyone other than a marked police vehicle. If in doubt about the identity of the car, particularly in a deserted area, keep driving.'

The RAC has warned owners of BMWs, Mercedes and Jaguars to take particular care. Thieves are thought to have targeted such cars believing their drivers would be more likely to carry valuables.