A SPECIALIST team of detectives has been set up to investigate a surge in car-jackings across Bradford.

The shooting of a 72-year-old Baildon man in a pub car park in Heaton on Tuesday night during an attempt by a masked gang to steal his black Jaguar XJ car has brought the number of car-jackings, including attempts, to 26 since October 1.

The latest victim, reported to be a retired doctor, had been socialising alone in the Hare and Hounds pub in Toller Lane when he was attacked as he returned to his car at about 8.50pm.

He was shot with an air gun receiving an injury to his hand and neck. He was undergoing surgery yesterday to remove the pellets.

Police have arrested a 23-year-old Bradford man in relation to the incident and he remained in custody last night.

Detective Chief Inspector Ian Bryar, of Bradford District CID, said the police were greatly concerned by the wave of similar crimes.

“I’ve brought a team together from the Bradford Organised Crime Unit to tackle this specific type of crime because we have seen a noticeable spike.

“It is of great concern to us. We do not yet know the motives, such as whether the cars are destined for overseas, for selling on or simply for joy-riding but they all appear to be German models or high performance cars.

"We have recovered some of the vehicles, though not all of the 26 were stolen; some were attempts but we are still regarding all incidents as very serious.

“The shooting on Tuesday evening was the first to have a firearm involved.

“I don’t want people to stop enjoying their cars, but to be vigilant. If they see something suspicious they should contact us on 101. We also suggest locking the car doors when they are in the vehicle for additional safety.

“These sort of crimes, however distressing, are relatively low in number but we are determined to address them which is why we’ve brought on a dedicated team of detectives.

“We are also carrying out high-visibility patrols across the district.

“We also need the public to be vigilant and help us tackle these crimes. If anyone has any information about previous incidents or the one on Tuesday evening they are asked to contact us.”

Bradford West MP Naz Shah spoke to police yesterday afternoon about the incident.

She said: “While this is a rare incident, it is still something which shouldn't be happening on our streets.

“I understand that intelligence and information the police have suggests that the perpetrators are 'locals'.

“Police have made arrests and inquiries are ongoing. But to make sure this doesn't happen again we as a community need to support the investigation and I would urge anyone with any information, in relation to this horrible attack on a 72-year-old retired doctor, to please make contact with the police."

Councillor Jeanette Sunderland, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Bradford Council, said she was "shocked" by the recent numbers of car-jackings.

"I have got serious concerns about the behaviour of what appear to be young men.

“I think we need to take a serious look at how we are treating young people.

“We have got increasing amounts of bad behaviour, and increasing amounts of dangerous and violent behaviour – and it must not be tolerated,” she said.

Councillor Simon Cooke, leader of the Conservative group, added: “I think it is a real concern. I also think it is a crime we have never really had until the last six months or so – I don’t recall it.

“The police need to step up to the plate in terms of dealing with these sorts of crime.”

Sonja McNally, chairman of the Heaton Township Association, said she hoped the attack would prove to be an isolated incident.

“It’s very nasty, and the last thing we want is for anything like this to re-occur,” she said.

“It’s shocking, but I’m sure the police are doing all they can.

“I would urge residents not to be frightened by the situation.”

Councillor Mohammed Amran (Lab, Heaton) said: “It is a big problem, but not just in our ward – it is happening everywhere across Bradford.

“It is really sad that people are targeted – innocent, hard-working people who have earned these cars.”

“We are looking at all these issues with police and we want to find out what they are doing to tackle it.”

A spokesman for the Hare and Hounds pub said: “This is a well-managed, popular pub and we are extremely shocked the incident took place.

" Our thoughts are with the gentleman involved and we wish him a speedy recovery. The pub team is fully co-operating with the police and part of the car park remains cordoned off while they complete their investigations.”