THE new Greenfield Neighbourhood Crime Watch group is urging the community to be vigilant after springing into action following a car jacking in the village on February 5.
The incident occurred around 6.30pm when a woman was followed from Tesco on Chew Valley Road to her home on Bowler Way.
She was approached by two male offenders, one of them carrying a machete, and was threatened before handing over her car keys and the men made off in the car.
But after resident street coordinators were alerted and shared the message speedily online, the car was found abandoned in Grotton.
Lee Hudson, founder of the crime watch group, explained: “On the evening February 5 at 6.34pm, resident street coordinators reported a car jacking incident on Bowler Way.
“The group immediately sprang into action, sharing critical details of the incident and suspects, including CCTV footage, via the WhatsApp group, which was shared instantly with police.
“The coordinators tracked the stolen vehicle as it travelled through Greenfield eventually into Grasscroft heading towards Oldham.
“At 6.48pm, 14 minutes after the incident occurred, the vehicle was found and recovered by the police.
“The Greenfield Neighbourhood Crime Watch team, which has now over 900 members, works together to relay vital intelligence to help the police.
“On this occasion it has led directly to the vehicle being recovered and no doubt the suspects thinking twice before striking again in Greenfield.”
Lee added: “It must be noted that once again the car jacking incident started at Tesco, where a young woman it seems was targeted.
“The victim was followed to her home, where they waited for her to exit her car and snatch the keys.
“The public needs to be vigilant and circumspect to their surroundings to make sure you are not followed, especially on these dark nights.”
The Greenfield Neighbourhood Crime Watch group officially launched its resident street coordinator scheme on January 28 with support of the local police.
So far they have around 80 resident coordinators across 57 streets in the village, giving eyes and ears on the street to look out for each other.
Communicating via WhatsApp they share vital intelligence instantly with each other and the police to help track any suspicious or criminal activity as it happens.
PC Lee Cullen said investigations into the car jacking incident are ongoing, including looking at CCTV and checking possible sources around the incident locations.
He added: “What is very apparent is how effective the Greenfield Crime Watch Scheme is with the ability to quickly mobilise passing information and intelligence across the community.
“It is because of this approach, swinging into action almost instantaneously after the incident, that we were able to disrupt the criminals’ activity and recover the stolen vehicle for a forensic examination.”
“I echo what Lee Hudson has said about vigilance and the need to stay alert when approaching your car, where ever that may be.”
A GMP spokesperson confirmed: “We were called at around 6.30pm to Bowler Way to reports that a woman had been approached by two male offenders and threatened by them before handing over her car keys.
“The offenders, one of whom was carrying a machete, drove off in the car before it was recovered a short time later. No arrests have been made in connection with the incident.”