Belfast Telegraph

Christmas Eve gang in reign of terror

By Deborah McAleese

Police are hunting a four-strong gang of men who beat a man over the head with a hammer while hijacking his car.

The gang are then believed to have attacked the home of a young family on Christmas Eve, smashing several windows.

Police said that on Saturday evening the man was sitting in a car in the Lisnastrane Heights area of Coalisland when a white van pulled up in front of him.

Four men got out of the van and approached the driver of the blue Peugeot car. They smashed the windscreen with a hammer.

The man was then hit over the head with the hammer and his car was stolen.

The victim was taken to hospital for treatment. His injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

A short time later the same gang is thought to have been behind the smashing of windows in a house two miles down the road at Killary Lane in Stewartstown.

They escaped in a car similar to the one that was stolen. It was later found burnt-out.

SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone branded the acts "despicable".

He said: "There is no place for this sort of violence in our society. This has been a terrifying experience, firstly for the driver of the car that was hijacked who was attacked with a hammer and was hospitalised, and secondly for an entirely innocent young family who had their windows smashed as they were preparing for Christmas."

Mr McGlone said that he knows the family well and there is "no excuse for any person to be targeted in this way".

Detectives can be contacted in Dungannon on 084 5600 8000.

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