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Posted on Thursday 22 September 2022
Police notebook
Police are appealing for witnesses after a car was stolen from outside a County Durham home with a two-year-old girl inside.

The youngster was found safe and well a few minutes later, but officers are investigating the incident, which took place in Church Street, Quarrington Hill, near Durham City, at about 7pm last night.

A family had parked their silver Vauxhall Vectra outside a relative’s house to drop shopping off when a dark Nissan X-Trail pulled up in the street and drove slowly past.

The engine of the Vauxhall was still running while one member of the family stood by the car door and others took items inside.

The suspect vehicle then reversed back along the street to pull alongside the Vauxhall and a man, dressed in a blue hooded jacket and black joggers, jumped out and climbed into the driver’s seat, with the two-year-old strapped into a car seat in the rear.

He then took off at speed as the distressed family tried to stop him. The Vectra was discovered about three miles away around Sherburn Beck, near Ludworth.

The toddler was physically unharmed and was quickly reunited with her family, however, their pet cat, which was also in the vehicle at the time, has yet to be located.

The Nissan X-Trail has not been located.

Detective Inspector Malcolm Bell, of Durham Constabulary, said: “This has been an extremely distressing incident for the family, who were terrified for the welfare of their child.

“We are appealing to anyone who may have seen this car being stolen or abandoned to come forward.

“We are also looking for anyone who may have seen the Nissan X-Trail at the time, or in immediate time before and after this incident.

“Thankfully, the child was located inside the car, safe and well, and was quickly reunited with her family.”

Anyone with any information or dash cam/CCTV footage is asked to contact Detective Sergeant Andy Davison, of Durham Constabulary, on 101, quoting incident reference 341 of September 21.

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