Hijacking trick feared after 'screaming' woman tries to flag down young driver's car in Belfast
Drivers have been warned that hijackers may be using an apparently distressed woman to trick people into stopping their cars.
Police have had reports of a woman screaming for help at the side of a main road into Belfast.
One young female motorist who saw the woman on the Belfast Road in Dundonald on Friday night told the Belfast Telegraph she believes she had a lucky escape.
She was driving from a friend's house in Newtownards with a female passenger at 9pm when the woman tried to stop their car.
The driver drove off after slowing down to see what she wanted, suspecting it could have been a hijacking attempt.
Local UUP councillor Jim Rodgers says he is in no doubt it was a hijacking attempt and has urged all drivers, especially females, to keep their car doors locked at all times.
Mr Rodgers, who sits on the Belfast Policing Board Partnership, said: "I am aware of similar incidents in the past.
"I am in no doubt this was an attempt to hijack that young girl's car. I wouldn't rule out that there were other people in the area ready to pounce."
The young driver said: "It was the scariest night of my life. The woman came out of nowhere and was screaming for help.
"She was screaming so loudly we could hear her even with the windows closed. She was frantically shouting for help.
"I didn't really know what to do. I was a bit nervous but we decided to stop with her to see what the problem was.
"I put the passenger window down just a small amount as we approached but as we slowed down she suddenly stopped screaming and came towards us.
"I found it very strange that she simply stopped screaming if something really was the matter. Something just did not seem right, so I drove on.
"It happened in quite a dark area of the road with no houses close by. It was all really strange, but I think we are lucky to have driven off."
The female driver immediately reported the incident to the police.
She then posted what had happened on Facebook.
She said: "As we drove off I could see in the mirror that the woman simply walked back into the darkness, into wherever she had come from. There was nothing there but trees and bushes.
"I posted the details on Facebook and the post has been shared over 5,500 times. A few people have commented on the post that this is a scam to stop the car. Others have mentioned similar incidents in the area."
A police spokesperson said: "Police received a report of a woman, who appeared to be distressed, on the Belfast Road in Dundonald shortly after 9pm on Friday, January 1.
"Police conducted a thorough check of the area but were unable to locate the woman, who was described as being aged in her 60s, with blonde hair and wearing a cream coloured coat."