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'Brainless morons and idiots' - Police slam drive-by vandals after 47 cars hit by stones and bricks

PUBLISHED: 10:46 13 June 2019 | UPDATED: 13:26 13 June 2019

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 Constabulary

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 Constabulary

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Police have slammed drive-by vandals branded as 'brainless morons' after the number of cars hit by stones and bricks on busy A roads approached 50.

The shattered windscreen and damage to the roof of Gemma Wiles' Skoda car after being struck by an object on the A143 between Harleston and Diss. Picture: Gemma WilesThe shattered windscreen and damage to the roof of Gemma Wiles' Skoda car after being struck by an object on the A143 between Harleston and Diss. Picture: Gemma Wiles

And Detective Inspector Chris Hinitt urged the public to be the force's eyes and ears after a period during which incidents have plagued several roads including the A143, A146 and B1062.

Since the first report on Friday, May 24, drivers have been targeted by occupants of oncoming vehicles who have thrown objects including stones, rocks and even house bricks.

Warnings from affected motorists have been widespread on social media, with one Beccles resident sharing dashcam footage which shows an object flying towards his car on the A146.

Another victim, from Harleston, was
left "shaken up" when her windscreen was struck as she drove towards Diss on the A143.

With the number of reported incidents continuing to rise, Norfolk and Suffolk police have urged motorists to waste no time in reporting the "extremely irresponsible" acts.

Gemma Wiles from Harleston was left badly shaken when her car was hit by an object on the A143 . Picture: Simon ParkinGemma Wiles from Harleston was left badly shaken when her car was hit by an object on the A143 . Picture: Simon Parkin

And Det Insp Hinitt, part of the Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Team, says the public can play a key role in helping to catch those responsible.

"We have been looking at all the evidence we can get, including CCTV in the relevant areas," he said. "But because of the volume and frequency of the offences we are obviously appealing for the public's help.

"If you are on the bits of road that have been affected, you can be our eyes and ears.

"The best thing people can do if someone throws something at your car is to call us immediately. Let us know and we will get people out there as soon as we can.

"It's very difficult to know when these incidents are going to happen but, if possible, try and take in what you can. Dashcam footage could help us out enormously.

"I can assure you that work is being done in the background and all our teams know about the problems."

Despite increased awareness and overnight patrols, reports of similar criminal damage incidents have continued to flood in over recent days.

Overnight from Tuesday, June 11 into Wednesday, June 12, police were notified of a further seven vehicles being damaged by thrown objects - one of them a private ambulance.

More incidents have been reported to police as a number of vehicles are damaged by stones and bricks on the Suffolk-Norfolk border. Picture: David ThompsonMore incidents have been reported to police as a number of vehicles are damaged by stones and bricks on the Suffolk-Norfolk border. Picture: David Thompson

With numerous attacks occurring on roads in the Bungay area, town clerk Jeremy Burton says residents and the council are extremely concerned.

"We are appalled by this behaviour and it's very fortunate there have been no serious injuries or fatalities," added Mr Burton.

"The consequences don't bear thinking about and it needs to stop before someone gets seriously hurt."

Paul Stephen, who lives in Harleston, says he has resorted to buying a dashcam in the hope of catching those responsible on camera.

Drivers have voiced their dismay after being pelted with rocks while driving in the dark on the A146 and A143. Picture: Gary FriendDrivers have voiced their dismay after being pelted with rocks while driving in the dark on the A146 and A143. Picture: Gary Friend

"I will have the dashcam fitted by the end of the week because I know a lot of people who are very concerned," he said. "There is no way you can really know it's coming unless something happens to you - it's quite scary.

"I worry about the safety of my wife because you could easily swerve into the path of an oncoming car if you get hit."

As officers explore the possibility that the numerous incidents are linked, Det Insp Hinitt says the priority is making sure those responsible are caught and dealt with appropriately.

"This is an accident waiting to happen," he added. "These people probably think it's a bit of a laugh but frankly they are brainless morons and idiots.

Vandals have been throwing stone at cars on the A143 and the A146.

 Picture: James BassVandals have been throwing stone at cars on the A143 and the A146. Picture: James Bass

"If they sat and thought about the potential of what could happen, maybe they'd think twice.

"There will be people who know this is happening and have an inkling that someone they know is responsible. We would urge you to come forward and help prevent a very serious incident."

Anyone who has been a victim and has information or dashcam footage is asked to contact PC Andrew Roberts at Suffolk police or PC Andy Barkway at Norfolk police on 101.

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111 or using their online form.

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