Page last updated at 16:11 GMT, Thursday, 18 February 2010

Warning over England tops after Flintshire lorry hijack

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

Football fans have been urged to look out for "suspicious" new England away shirts after a lorry carrying sportswear was hijacked in Flintshire.

The armed, hooded gang struck at about 0800 GMT on Wednesday on the Deeside Industrial Estate.

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

The truck, which was later found burnt out in Merseyside, was heading to an Umbro clothing factory when it held up.

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

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

A lorry similar to the one hijacked at Deeside Industrial Estate in Flintshire
A lorry similar to the one hijacked at Deeside Industrial Estate

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 burnt-out in St Helens.

Sgt Craig Turner, who is leading the investigation on behalf of North Wales Police, said: "The driver was uninjured, but very shocked.

"Deeside Industrial Estate is a busy area, especially at this time of the morning, and we are keen to speak to anyone who may have seen the vehicle or noticed anything suspicious."

The new away shirt was only launched this week and is not due to go on sale until next month, the day England wear it in a World Cup warm-up friendly against Egypt.

The driver was forced out of the cab at gunpoint

In a statement, Umbro said: "Umbro has been informed about the incident concerning the stolen England away football shirts.

"Umbro is co-operating fully with the police and we encourage anyone who is offered suspicious England away shirts to report it to the police immediately as this is a serious criminal matter.

"We wish the driver all the best."

Inquiries are involving both Greater Manchester and Merseyside Police.

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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