Hooded stranger climbed into car

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A WOMAN was left terrified when a hooded stranger jumped into her car in a supermarket car park.

The 31-year-old Hartlepool woman had finished her shopping at Asda, off Marina Way, in Hartlepool, around 9pm, when she first noticed the suspicious-looking man as he walked past her near the main entrance.

But as he was wearing a fluorescent high-visibility body-warmer she believed he must have worked at the store, so she shrugged off her initial concerns.

The mum walked back to her car, which was parked in the family parking spaces, and put the bags of groceries into the boot of her car.

She then took the trolley back to one of the trolley-shelters and when she returned to her vehicle got into the driver’s side and sat down.

The woman then glanced in the passenger-side wing mirror and saw the man storming towards her car.

But before she had chance to press the central locking button to lock the car, the man - whose face was covered with a scarf - opened the door and climbed into the passenger seat.

The shaken woman, who does not wish to be identified, told the Mail that she started to scream and managed to quickly get out of the car and run.

As she made her way back to the store she quickly glanced round and the man was still sitting in her car.

But before security could get to the vehicle, the man got out and walked off towards the Asda petrol station and the main road.

“I couldn’t lock the car quickly enough and he just opened the door and got in,” said the woman. “I started screaming. Luckily my handbag had got caught in the driver’s side door which meant it hadn’t shut properly so it was quicker for me to get out.

“I started running towards Asda and I looked back to see him still sat in my car with the door closed just staring forwards. After a few seconds he started walking towards the petrol station.”

She added: “I just want to warn people to be careful and when they get into their cars make sure they lock them straight away because God knows what might have happened.

“I really has shaken me up and the first thing I’ve been doing now when I get in my car, is locking the door straight away.

“I’ve never felt so scared in all my life a stranger with his face covered up just climbing into the car. I didn’t know I could scream like that but it just came naturally because it was so frightening.”

A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police confirmed the incident, which happened on Thursday, January 17, and said: “We have had this incident reported and have logged it as a suspicious incident.

“Police carried out an area search for the man and have checked CCTV cameras.”

An Asda spokesman said: “Our staff alerted the police to the incident and we continue to help them with their investigation.”

Anyone who has any further information about the man, or any similar incidents, should contact police on 101, or 999 in an emergency.