THIEVES who stole two vehicles in Rathfriland before driving them to Downpatrick should be caught and face the full force of the law.
The call came after thieves enjoyed a crime spree in the area in the early hours of last Tuesday morning.
A jeep was stolen from the Glenburn Road while a Mitsubishi was taken from outside a house in the Iveagh Road. Both vehicles were later found in the Downpatrick area.
The mother of the Jeep’s 28-year-old owner said it had been “wrecked”.
“We went out to the yard on Tuesday morning and the jeep was gone,” said the woman, who described the house as being down a laneway some distance from the main road.
“The jeep is wrecked now and there was some damage found which showed they had tried to interfere with my husband’s jeep too. They had clearly come well-equipped and knew what they were doing and looking for.”
On the same morning damage to outbuildings on the Monteith Road was reported to police.
Knockiveagh councillor Liz Ingram said the thefts have shocked people int he area.
“The theft of these two vehicles is very alarming. As is always the case I understand no-one detected anything happening and the cars were later found in Downpatrick. The question is do these gangs roam around the countryside on spec or is information being passed to them?”
The local councillor said she would be appealing to police for more patrols in the area and called for those responsible to be caught and punished.
“I will be asking for more nighttime patrols in these rural areas in a bid to apprehend those repsonsible, in the hope that if and when they are caught they face much tougher sentences than those that are currently being handed out.”
Anyone who has any information or who saw anything suspicious in the area is asked to contact Police in Banbridge on 0845 600 8000. Or, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.
For information on car safety tips visit www.banbridgeleader.co.uk.