Lethal missile throwers targeting drivers on A38 in Plymouth
POLICE have warned "lethal" missile throwers who target fast-moving vehicles on the A38 they could face jail if caught.
An ambulance was damaged when an object was hurled from a bridge on the busy road earlier this week.
And the attack was just the latest in a spate of similar incidents, say investigators.
Now Inspector Richard Pryce, the force's lead officer for road policing, has issued a stark warning to the culprits, who are thought to have thrown everything from bricks to bottles from footbridges and overpasses.
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"Actions of this nature are not a prank – they're completely lethal," Insp Pryce told The Herald.
"Someone who's caught doing it could find themselves facing attempted homicide charges."
Elsewhere in the country, similar incidents have had tragic consequences.
"People have been killed," Insp Pryce added. "It's that serious."
At least three incidents have been reported to police this week – all on the A38.
The first was shortly after 4pm on Wednesday, where a stone was seen to be thrown at a vehicle from a footbridge near the Manadon Roundabout. Fortunately it missed.
However, at 9pm that evening the driver of a Volkswagen T5 van saw his windscreen implode as he drove under the bridge by the Ernesettle sliproad.
The glass shattered after half a red house brick was thrown, narrowly missing the driver and his 14-year-old child.
He told police how he swerved from lane two another before regaining control and stopping.
At 9pm the following night, two ambulance workers were travelling along the A38 when their vehicle was struck by what was believed to be either a 'water bomb' or a bottle.
The pair had only just dropped off a 90-year-old woman at Derriford Hospital when the object was thought to be thrown from the bridge crossing the carriageway near the St Budeaux turn-off.
The private ambulance, which belongs to Plymouth Central Ambulance Service, was left with damage to its front grill and wing mirror.
Ambulance care assistant Michele Brace, who was in the back at the time, recalled hearing "an almighty bang".
She said: "It was so loud. If we had a patient on board it would have been very upsetting for them.
"If the bottle, or water bomb, had hit the windscreen it could have caused a really serious accident. Both myself and the driver were left quite shaken, it was scary.
Insp Pryce urged people to help catch the culprits – and warned them their punishments could include imprisonment.
"If something like a half-brick hits you in the head when you're driving at 60mph then you are dead, it's that simple," he added. "If you see someone or know of someone throwing missiles from the bridges then report it to the police immediately. "
Anyone with information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 quoting crime reference number EL/13/623 or log 800 of February 14.