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Crawley woman left shocked after being dragged along road by drive-by handbag thief

The 67-year-old woman was walking along Lady Margaret Road in Crawley, when a green VW Golf drove up alongside her.

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A woman from Crawley is recovering after a frightening experience in which she was dragged along a street by a car driver who eventually stole her handbag.

At 9.45pm on Monday (28 May), the 67-year-old woman was walking along Lady Margaret Road in Crawley, when a green VW Golf drove up alongside her.

More news: Crawley schoolgirl cuts off over a foot of hair to raise money for charity

The driver initially asked her for directions, but he then leant out of the car and grabbed her handbag. As he drove away, she held on to the bag and was dragged along the road for an estimated 100 yards before having to let go.

The car sped away, its wheels spinning and leaving marks on the road.

The driver was a man and of black appearance, but there is no other description of him at this stage and no registration number for the car.

As well as being very shocked, the victim sustained cuts, bruising and grazing, and was treated at the scene by an ambulance crew but declined to go to hospital.

The handbag contained personal items and a small quantity of cash.

Detective Sergeant Ian Warncken of the Crawley Investigations Team said:

“This was a really distressing experience for the woman, who resisted bravely, but eventually had to let go before she became seriously injured.

“If you saw what happened or if you have any information as to who this man may be, please get in touch with us online or by calling 101, quoting serial 1452 of 28/05.

“You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

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Crime

Man jailed for making hoax bomb call in order to catch his flight at Gatwick

A man who made a hoax bomb call in an attempt to catch his flight to the USA has been jailed.

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Jacob Meir Abdellak was running late for the Norwegian flight from Gatwick to Los Angeles, so he decided to contact the police to report the threat.

The anonymous call was received at 5.47am on Friday 11 May – just eight minutes before the flight was due to depart – and a full re-screening meant take-off was delayed by 90 minutes.

Further enquiries made by Gatwick Airport Ltd revealed Abdellak was significantly late for the flight and he was denied boarding by airline staff, whom he became abusive towards. He was told to return on another date to rearrange his flight.

It was later confirmed the telephone number used to make the call was the same number linked to his booking.

The 47-year-old librarian, of Amhurst Park, Hackney, London, was arrested at Gatwick Airport on Tuesday 22 May as he attempted to board another flight to the USA.

He was charged with communicating false information regarding a noxious substance likely to create serious risk to human health, however he denied the offence throughout.

Abdellak, a French national, admitted the telephone number was his, but claimed he had lost the SIM card a few days earlier and therefore the call could not have been made by him.

But at Lewes Crown Court on Tuesday (14 August), when the trial was due to begin, the defendant changed his mind and pleaded guilty.

He was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment and required to pay a £140 victim surcharge.

Gatwick Police Chief Inspector Marc Clothier said:

“This was a quite ridiculous decision made by Abdellak, who fabricated an extremely serious allegation purely for his own benefit. He was running late for his flight and thought it would be a good idea to call in a hoax bomb, however this turned out to be the worst decision he could have made.

“His actions caused the flight to be delayed, and also caused a level of fear and distress among a number of staff and passengers on board that flight.

“The consequences of making allegations about bombs, guns or similar at densely populated locations such as airports are well documented, and Abdellak’s sentence serves as a warning to others that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated and offenders will be dealt with robustly.”

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