File picture: Annca/Pixabay

London - A middle-aged woman in a devil mask is being hunted by police over a spate of acid attacks on cars in a village.

Six vehicles have been targeted in the past 18 months in St Briavels in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire.

Locals claim the bizarre attacks are the result of ‘ancient feuds’ within the 1 000-strong community.

In one incident, the paint on a Renault Megane Scenic was stripped back to the metal and the car’s windscreen wipers and lights melted. Another villager said they have CCTV images of the woman, wearing a devil mask and black curly wig, throwing acid all over her Land Rover.

The mask and wig were later found abandoned, and locals are now offering a £2,000 reward to catch the culprit. They claim the woman has also been posting pornographic material through letter boxes and cat flaps in the middle of the night.

One theory is that she is a disgruntled resident angered by a planning dispute – as all the victims are members of the parish council or on the committee of the Assembly Rooms, the village hall.

A villager said: ‘All of the victims are upstanding local residents, who work tirelessly in a voluntary capacity for the good of the community and numerous charitable causes.’

The latest victim, music teacher John Hurley, was said to be ‘the most inoffensive, quiet living, kind and considerate person’ who dedicated himself to voluntary work in St Briavels.

Mr Hurley, 73, said his Renault had been so badly damaged he fears it could be written off. The gel-like acid melted the plastic wipers and headlamps – as well as a plastic spatula he tried to scrape it off with. He added: ‘Luckily I was aware of the previous attacks so as soon as I saw it I knew straight away what it was. If I hadn’t known and touched it, it would have been disastrous.

‘It’s devastating to think there are people in our community who could do such a thing. Police appear to be taking it very seriously. They will be caught. It’s only a matter of time.’

Tens of thousands of pounds of damage has been caused to five cars and a motor home – with the family living in the latter understood to have since fled the village.

Locals also fear the woman in the mask has an accomplice, with one villager claiming they had CCTV of two attackers.

They said: ‘Our home security cameras showed at least two people involved in the attack on our vehicle.

‘The pair pulled up in a vehicle. One was a stout, bald, middle-aged man wearing glasses, accompanied by a tallish, middle-aged woman who was wearing a devil’s mask, black curly wig, a poncho and boots with a distinctive thick, white sole, who proceeded to throw acid all over our black Freelander.

‘A wig and devil’s mask matching the security footage was later recovered along with an acid bottle cap, which was handed to the police.’

Parish councillor Andrew Clarke said: ‘They need to catch those responsible before it escalates. Can you imagine if somebody caught the perpetrators in the act? They are likely to throw the acid over them and run. This stuff takes no prisoners.’

Gloucestershire Police confirmed they had received reports of the attack on the Renault Megane overnight on March 21.

Daily Mail