Thieves rammed a police car in Dromore in one of a string of recent incidents giving rise to fears of an upsurge in crime locally.
The police vehicle was rammed as officers tried to intercept a stolen van at Lurgan Road on Thursday, May 14.
Hijacked in the early hours of the morning from a newspaper delivery man in Dromore, the van was recovered, but the thieves made their escape, the police patrol unable to pursue due to the damage caused.
Police are also investigating two reports of burglary in the Dromore area the day before the ramming incident.
Jewellery and cash were taken and police are following up reports of a turquoise coloured car near to one of the addresses at the time.
There have been a string of other incidents in the area.
On Sunday, May 10 a white VW Golf was stolen overnight from the Belfry area.
There have also been a number of thefts involving farming equipment including a bail lifter and bail stacker thought to have been stolen from an open shed sometime around Friday, May 8.
Ornamental gates - believed to be of some value mainly due to their age - were reported stolen from a farm house in Dromore on April 18.
Dromore’s Alderman Paul Rankin said of the spate of incidents: “Crime comes in peaks and troughs and there has definitely been a peak in Dromore over the last four to six weeks.
“The police keep records of crime-fighting figures, and over a longer period of time quite often these will average out. This is still quite concerning though and I hope it is in no way a permanent trend.
“At the next Police Community Liaison Committee meeting I will be interested to hear if the police believe it is just a peak or if it is a marked increase and pointing to deeper problems.
“We will also be able to compare the number of crimes in previous years and see if there is an increase in the percentage.
“With the previous closure of the Dromore Police Station and neighbourhood policing teams relocated to Lurgan, the police have assured us they are still on the ground and covering the same area.
“Police cars have been visible in the area. Much of Dromore lies in rural areas and often that is where people feel most isolated.”