Police appeal for witnesses after bus hijacking in Newtownabbey
Detectives are appealing for witnesses and information after a bus was hijacked, before being set on fire, in Newtownabbey yesterday evening (Sunday 7th November). Detective Inspector Lenaghan said:
“It was reported at around 7.45pm that four masked men got onto the bus as it made a stop at Carnreagh Bend, and ordered its passengers to get off.
“The men, who were reported to have been carrying a hammer and a bottle of petrol, then forced the driver to make the journey to Church Road, and proceeded to smash windows and set the bus alight. “The suspects were said to have been dressed in black, and believed to be aged in their 40s. One of the men was described as being around 5’ 7” in height, whilst two of the others were estimated as being 6 ft or taller.
“The fire was extinguished by colleagues from Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service.”
Detective Inspector Lenaghan said that this had been a terrifying incident for both the driver and everyone who had been travelling on the bus at the time. “This was a distressing and frightening ordeal for everyone involved, and we are thankful that no one suffered any physical injuries. “This reckless incident also continued to cause disruption for those who live and work in the area this morning, and we would ask drivers to avoid it as we continue to carry out our investigations. “We are appealing to anyone with any information about what happened to contact us, and are asking anyone was in the area and saw what happened, or may have dash cam footage, to call our detectives on 101, quoting reference number 1645 of 07/11/21.”
A report can also be made using the online reporting form via www.psni.police.uk/makeareport. Alternatively, information can be provided to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org
A spokesperson for Translink issued a statement on the incident on Sunday evening:
“A 2e Metro bus has tonight been hijacked and set on fire in Newtownabbey, near the junction of Church Road and West Crescent. It happened shortly before 8pm.
“The driver and small number of passengers safely disembarked. Our driver is badly shaken and is currently being supported by colleagues.
“We are very disappointed by this intimidating attack on our member of staff and public transport services in the area. We utterly condemn this behaviour and will be working closely with the PSNI to investigate this incident”.