Farmer praised after van hijack
AN ALERT farmer has been praised for his swift actions after he came to the rescue of the distressed victim of a van hijacking.Neil Mason, who works at Docura's Farm in Boxted, freed the shaken driver's tightly bound hands and ankles which had been tied by the thieves.
AN ALERT farmer has been praised for his swift actions after he came to the rescue of the distressed victim of a van hijacking.
Neil Mason, who works at Docura's Farm in Boxted, freed the shaken driver's tightly bound hands and ankles which had been tied by the thieves.
Mr Mason told the EADT how he prevented the courier's ordeal from being prolonged when he stopped to enquire about his abandoned vehicle in a country lane on Thursday afternoon.
The Initial Citylink driver's nightmare began at 8.30am that day when he was approached by two men in Chapel Lane in the neighbouring village of Langham on the Essex-Suffolk border.
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He later told police he endured six horrific hours after the robbers tied him up and "bundled him" into the back of his delivery van, before it was driven around the countryside for three hours.
Mr Mason, 29, saw the distinctive yellow and green Ford Transit abandoned in a country lane in Boxted around midday and investigated further when he saw the van was still parked there,
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three hours later.
"I had been driving my tractor all day," Mr Mason said. "At about 3.30 I saw someone poking his head out of the side door. He had the side door open and managed to get his head out to get my attention." The farmer took ten minutes to untie the driver by hand because he was tightly bound by heavy-duty tape.
"He was well shaken up and very distressed," Mr Mason added. "He said he had been in the van for three hours trying to get the door open and get himself out. I stayed with him because he was so shaken while he phoned his company and the police."
Docura's Farm owner Hugh Hudson said his worker was "very reliable" and did the right thing. "I'm proud that one of my workers stopped and checked the van," he said.
The driver, who was unhurt, also told Mr Mason he had recently joined Initial Citylink, after working in the pub trade for seven years. Mr Mason said the driver told him "nothing like this had ever happened to him".
When the EADT contacted Initial Citylink's parent company Initial Rentokil yesterday Tony Stephens, general manager, said: "We can confirm there was an incident yesterday involving one of our vehicles from Initial Citylink. There is an on-going police investigation so we are unable to comment further at this time."
The hijackers stole 12 boxes of mobile phones valued at £10,000 from his vehicle. The courier, who made regular deliveries to the nearby Severalls Lane industrial estate in Colchester, described his attackers as being both white.
One of the men, who was believed to be about 5ft 7ins tall, and wore a black jacket. The driver, who has not been named by police, was unable to provide any further details about his accomplice.
Colchester police are requesting anyone who saw the Ford transit, with registration number ND53 NNX, being driven on roads in North Essex and South Suffolk between 8.30am and noon on Thursday, to contact Det-Con Shaun Hudson on 01206 762212.
nA 37-year-old man from Ipswich has been arrested on suspicion of theft and released on police bail until a later date.