Northern Ireland

Teenager kidnapped by masked gang in Belfast armed robbery

The Renault Laguna used in the robbery
Image caption Police have appealed for sightings of the Renault Laguna used in the robbery

A teenager has been kidnapped from his family home in County Down by a gang of armed robbers in what police have described as a "horrific ordeal".

The 18-year-old man was at home with his father on Thursday night when three armed and masked men entered their house in Bangor at about 22:15 GMT.

The gang threatened the pair and about 04:00 GMT on Friday morning, the teenager was placed in his family car and driven to a house in west Belfast.

He later escaped and raised the alarm.

False plates

Police said the registration plates on the family's car, a grey Renault Laguna GJZ 9090, were changed for false plates before the abducted teenager was taken to a house Beechmount Parade.

The false plates fitted to the car during the robbery bore the registration number RJZ 6968.

A PSNI spokesman said that at around 07:00 GMT, a sum of money was passed to the occupant of the Renault Laguna at a filling station in the Ravenhill Road area of south Belfast.

A cash-in-transit vehicle was in the forecourt of the filling station at the time.

The car was then seen in College Square North in central Belfast before it was found abandoned in Ainsworth Avenue in the west of the city.

During this time, the teenager remained captive Beechmount Parade for more than four hours, before managing to escape about 09:30 GMT.

Planned

Detective Inspector Chris Wilson said: "This was a horrific ordeal for the father and son and the wider family circle.

"It was a planned and organised crime involving a number of persons and we are appealing to anyone with information to come forward.

"We are particularly keen to speak to anyone who was in the College Square North or Ainsworth Avenue areas on Friday morning and saw the Renault Laguna or anyone acting suspiciously.

Anyone with information is asked to contact detectives on 02891801507.

Alternatively information can be passed anonymously to the Crimestoppers charity by telephoning 0845 600 8000.