Two men who tried to kidnap an RAF serviceman while he was out jogging may have staged a dry run and undertaken reconnaissance around the base before the attempt, a witness has said.
A villager living near the base has come forward to report two men of Middle Eastern appearance driving so quickly away from the base they almost crashed into him.
The incident happened just three days before the un-named married serviceman narrowly avoided being kidnapped by two Middle Eastern men while out jogging alone, about a mile from the gates of RAF Marham in Norfolk. The base is used to fly sorties to Syria and Iraq in the fight against Islamic State.
According to the serviceman one man grabbed his wrist and shoulder and tried to bundle him towards a dark people-carrier, possibly a Ford Galaxy, but he was able to knock his attacker to the ground and escape.
The attempted abduction was carried out in broad daylight at about 3.30pm last Wednesday.
Now a villager, who asked not to be named, has come forward to report that he had seen men of similar description speeding away from the base four days earlier, on Sunday last week.
The local resident told ITV Anglia: “They were driving a green Ford Galaxy and they nearly ran me off the road. If I had not taken emergency avoiding action, there would have been an accident.
“That is why I particularly noted it. It looked suspicious. They were certainly in a hurry to get out of the way. The were drawing a lot of attention to themselves due to the manner of their driving.”
Norfolk Police have urged anyone else with information to come forward, and have said they are not ruling out the possibility that the two men were part of a larger team, the Telegraph has reported.
“While the victim only witnessed two attackers, there may have been more than two people in the vehicle and given the nature of the attack, it is likely they were part of a larger team,” said Detective Superintendent Paul Durham, from the Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team.
“This is important because I do not want to deter any potential witnesses from coming forward. It is the vehicle we are interested in, regardless of the number of people seen inside.”
The serviceman was said to have been left “very, very shaken by his ordeal”.
Meanwhile, British soldiers have been told to “scrub” their social media accounts and travel in pairs as fears remain that another kidnapping attempt may be made.
14,000 military personnel at bases in Bulford, Tidworth, and Larkhill, Wiltshire have been sent a memo seen by the Sun on Sunday, reading: “All staff and their families should remain vigilant and report anything that is suspicious immediately.
“Personnel when running off camp should consider running in pairs.
“Personnel should consider scrubbing their social media pages to avoid drawing attention to themselves.”
It continued: “While there remains no ban on the wearing of uniform in public, personnel should not feel compounded to wear it outside MOD establishments when common sense says a lower profile would be more appropriate.”
One serviceman commented: “We are being made to live in the shadows.”