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'Scared to drive' - mother's lingering fear following wave of rock-throwing incidents

PUBLISHED: 08:00 16 June 2019 | UPDATED: 18:13 16 June 2019

An object thrown on the A143 near Ditchingham left a car carrying a newborn baby badly damaged. Picture: Hannah Gaad

An object thrown on the A143 near Ditchingham left a car carrying a newborn baby badly damaged. Picture: Hannah Gaad

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A mother has been left scared to drive after rocks thrown from oncoming cars damaged more than 50 vehicles - including one carrying her newborn baby.

An object thrown on the A143 near Ditchingham left a car carrying a newborn baby badly damaged. Picture: Hannah GaadAn object thrown on the A143 near Ditchingham left a car carrying a newborn baby badly damaged. Picture: Hannah Gaad

Hannah Gaad, from Bungay, was travelling home from James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston on Sunday, June 8, when an object came flying towards her family's car.

The impact of the object, thought to be a rock, left a significant hole in the car's bodywork below one of its headlights.

The incident is one of more than 50 to happen on roads including the A143 and A146 since the first report on Friday, May 24, with a private ambulance among the vehicles affected.

A man in his 20s from Loddon has, however, since been arrested and released on bail until July 9 pending further enquiries.

"We were travelling back from the hospital late at night with our newborn baby when it happened to us," said Ms Gaad.

"We only passed one vehicle on the A143 as it was so late and dark. They put on their high beams, sped past at a very fast speed and launched the rock.

"We heard a huge bang - which was frightening - and it could have been worse and we were lucky it didn't come through the windscreen at that speed."

Officers responded to the initial incidents by conducting late night patrols in towns and villages in the affected areas, stopping several vehicles in the process.

Det Insp Chris Hinitt says the public can play a key role in helping police catch those responsible for damaging vehicles in Norfolk and Suffolk. Picture: Suffolk ConstabularyDet Insp Chris Hinitt says the public can play a key role in helping police catch those responsible for damaging vehicles in Norfolk and Suffolk. Picture: Suffolk Constabulary

Detective Inspector Chris Hinitt, part of the Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Team, has encouraged members of the public to be their "eyes and ears" as they attempt to catch those responsible.

Despite the recent arrest, Ms Gaad says she still harbours substantial fears for the safety of her family.

"This behaviour could easily kill someone and it's more than just criminal damage," she added. "It's horrible and needs to be stopped.

"I hope it stops now because I'm too scared to drive around at the moment with a vulnerable newborn baby and two children. I don't even care about the damage, that is replaceable - I care about my family being at risk."

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