Hijackers steal British passport stash

LONDON (AFP) – Hijackers made off with boxes of blank British passports worth a fortune on the black market in a raid on a delivery van, police said Tuesday, in the latest blow to the government’s record on security.

Detectives said the 24 boxes of about 3,000 passports and visa documents, destined for British embassies around the world, were worth some 2.5 million pounds (five million dollars, 3.2 million euros).

A hijacker sped off with the vehicle Monday when the driver stopped to buy a newspaper in the Manchester suburb of Oldham in northwest England.

The raider jumped in the van and assaulted a second delivery man in the passenger seat before speeding off a short distance to an unmarked road.

The robber then ran off and when the second delivery man felt safe enough he found that several boxes had been stolen.

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