North East Wales

Police's TV appeal over armed hijack of England shirts

The new England away kit
Image caption The new England away kit, similar to the shirts in the stolen lorry

Police have made a fresh appeal for witnesses four months after a lorry carrying England football shirts was hijacked at gunpoint.

The armed, hooded gang struck at 0800 GMT on 17 February on the Deeside industrial estate, Flintshire.

The driver, 37, was released, unhurt, an hour later 40 miles (64km) away in Wigan, Greater Manchester.

North Wales Police used the BBC's Crimewatch show to appeal for anyone with information to come forward.

The new England shirts were not on sale when the hijack took place.

Det Con Graham Cobley, of North Wales Police, said on Crimewatch that he wanted anyone who may have bought one of the shirts in February to get in touch.

Time-lapse CCTV footage of the hijack was shown on the programme.

The truck, which was later found burnt-out in Merseyside, was heading to an Umbro clothing factory with the new replica shirts when it was held up.

Image caption The truck was found burn-out on Merseyside

The lorry, a black Volvo FH12 Sleeper cab with Ray Stewart Haulage written in gold and silver on the sides, was attacked by three people, all believed to be male, wearing balaclavas.

One of the men was believed to have been carrying a gun.

'Suspicious'

The cab windows were smashed and the driver was forced into a black people carrier-type vehicle.

When he was released at about 0900 GMT he went to a police station in the Wigan area. The truck was found burnt-out in St Helens.

At the time a spokesman for Umbro urged anyone who was offered a suspicious England away shirt to report it to the police immediately.

Anyone with information is asked to contact officers at Mold CID on 101 if you are calling from Wales, 0845 607 1001 (Welsh line), 0845 607 1002 (English line) or Crimestoppers Wales anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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