#parents | #teensvaping | ‘My eyes were burning, I was freaking out’ – Teen’s terrifying ordeal as knife-wielding robbers throw curry powder in his face during Asda car-jacking

A teenager has told how robbers threw curry powder in his eyes and threatened to stab him during a terrifying car-jacking in North Staffordshire.

Brandon Heeks was also punched in the face as he sat in his grey Vauxhall Astra with a female friend near Asda on Wolstanton Retail Park.

The drama unfolded after a young man approached 19-year-old Brandon at around 1am yesterday (January 20).

After winding down the window a few inches, Brandon was asked if he wanted to buy drugs.

It was when he refused the offer that the man turned violent and hurled a substance in his face.

As a blinded Brandon desperately tried to close the window, a hand reached in and took the keys from the ignition.

Still reeling in burning pain, Brandon was punched and warned he would be stabbed if he didn’t get out of the vehicle.

He then managed to run around to the other side to drag his 18-year-old friend – who was frozen in fear – out of the car which then drove off with the passenger door still open.

Police and paramedics were on the scene within minutes before Brandon was taken to the Royal Stoke University Hospital.

Officers also located a pot containing the mystery substance which proved to be curry powder with lime squeezed in.

Recalling his horrifying ordeal Brandon, from Milehouse, told StokeonTrentLive: “My friends were in another car and they’d just left to get some food.

“We saw this black car with three people in pull on to the car park. One of the lads tapped on the window and offered me drugs.

“When I said ‘no’, they threw a powder in my face. The pain was unreal. My first thought was ‘acid’.  

“My eyes were burning, I could barely see. I was freaking out.

“They then forced their way into the car. They threatened me with a knife and punched me in the face.

“My friend was frozen in fear so I ran round to the passenger side and dragged her out. They sped off when she was only halfway out.

“All my belongings were in the car, including my keys wallet and phone. I didn’t have anything.

“All the time my eyes were stinging. Luckily my friend had a phone in her pocket so I was calling the police as I stumbled half blind towards Asda. I was on the phone as I watched  my car being driven off.

“It felt like ages but the police and ambulance came dead quick.”

A teenager was the victim of a terrifying car-jacking at Wolstanton Retail Park

Brandon, who works as an agricultural engineer, was released from hospital at 9am and was unable to start his 2pm shift at IAE later that day.

He added: “When they threw the substance at me, the container  landed outside the car. We found the pot on the car park and that’s when we realised it was curry powder. They’d also mixed in lime.

“The paramedics stood me over the flowerbed and poured water in my eyes. I was in loads of pain.

“There were two people in my car and a third one driving a black car. One of them definitely had a local accent.

“I went up to the Royal Stoke where the police spoke to me. 

“One of my eyes in still stinging now and the bruise is coming out where I was punched.

“I think they probably just went for a joyride and then dumped the car but it’s not been recovered yet.”

A teenager was the victim of a terrifying car-jacking

Brandon’s dad Jason Meeks received a panicked call from his son at around 2am.

He said: “Brandon doesn’t start work until 2pm so he often stays out late. They go to Asda as there’s toilets nearby.

“He’d been up there a couple of hours. His mates were in another car but they’d gone to get some food when it all kicked off in the space of a few seconds.

“The first thing that goes through your head is acid but thankfully it wasn’t anything corrosive. They probably punched him to disorientate him even more. 

“The girl with him was frozen scared. Despite not being able to see properly Brandon managed to pull the door open and drag her out otherwise they might have taken her with them. 

“He was in hospital until 9am and the police were with him for about four hours.

“They checked him over and luckily there won’t be any lasting damage. He’s got some cream but his eyes should be OK. He’s also got a bit of bruising. 

“The CID have been back to the car park so hopefully they will catch them.

“They all had their hoods up but one is believed to be white and another Asian.

“It’s really extreme that these kind of things are happening around here. I’m just glad he’s OK.” 

Police have now launched an urgent appeal for witnesses.

Wolstanton Retail Park

A Staffordshire Police spokesman said:  “Detectives are appealing for witnesses after a carjacking in Wolstanton.

“At around 1am a grey Vauxhall Astra was stolen from Asda car park, after the 19-year-old driver of the vehicle was approached by two Asian men who sprayed a substance in his face.

“Both the driver and passenger were threatened and forced out of the car, which was then driven away in a convoy with a dark-coloured Volkswagen.

“Officers have confirmed that the substance was non-corrosive and believe it was used as a distraction for the robbery.

“Fortunately, the occupants of the vehicle were not seriously injured but were both understandably shocked and shaken by the incident.

“An investigation is underway and anyone with any information is asked to get in touch.”

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We were called at 1.13am to Wolstanton Retail Park to reports of an assault on a teenage man where a  substance had been thrown in his face.

“An ambulance and paramedic officer attended the scene. We treated him at the scene before he was taken to the Royal Stoke University Hospital as a precaution.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Staffordshire Police on 101 or send a private message on Facebook or Twitter, quoting incident 18 of January 20. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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