Pensioner stunned after car is plucked from driveway by criminals using recovery truck during ‘shocking’ daylight theft

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A pensioner was left stunned after her car was winched from her drive onto the back of a recovery truck, in a brazen theft thought to be the first of its kind in the Vale.

Pauline Churchill’s car was snatched by two men in broad daylight on Friday afternoon – in a theft which took 30 minutes and was seen by a number of people, but not reported to Aylesbury police.

Mrs Churchill, 65, of Rainborough Gardens, said: “I might have come back, they didn’t know where I had gone and how long I had gone for.”

The mother of five and grandmother of 17, said: “They just picked the whole car up and took it. It is terrible. How did they stay out there for half an hour and nobody reported it?”

A police spokesman said: “There’s not a spate of this going on in Aylesbury, it is quite unusual” – adding that they had heard of thieves breaking into homes to steal keys and driving off in people’s cars, but not taking vehicles using a recovery truck.

The stolen car, a green Renault Laguna bought for £800 from eBay, was declared off-road while she was saving up money to repair its gearbox.

Neighbour Silvana Camilleri, who was out when the theft occurred at around 4.30pm, said: “I think there should be a neighbourhood watch if things like this are going on. It is quite shocking. It is not on.” Another neighbour, Alison Gregory, who was also out at the time of the theft, said: “I’m surprised that it has happened.

“But you wouldn’t take any notice, you wouldn’t look twice if you saw a recovery truck.

“How would you know if it was genuine or not unless you went up and asked them, and you wouldn’t.”

In light of the incident, Mrs Churchill is appealing for people to report anything that seems suspicious to police and join a neighbourhood watch scheme.

A Thames Valley force spokesman said: “The car was seen being taken away by two men on a flat bed lorry between 12.30-7pm on Friday. People should tell us if they suspect anything unusual and suspicious in their area.” Any information to detective constable Mandy Banfield via 101.