HIGH-performance cars were stolen from two Blackburn car dealerships by thieves posing as customers.

Sales assistant Mohammad Malik had to jump out of the way as the thief sped off in an Audi A3 from the forecourt at Daisyfield Garage in Fort Street.

He said the man, who was around 5ft 3ins tall with ginger hair, went into the garage at around 4.15pm last Friday.

Mohammad, 30, said: “The man was asking all the questions a normal customer would about the mileage, the condition and tax.

“He sat in the drivers seat and turned on the engine while I was stood at his side and he asked if he could take it for a test drive.

“In a split second he had slammed the door and drove off, with the wheels screeching.

“The way he drove off I knew he wasn’t coming back.

“I had to jump back to avoid the door and being run over. If I hadn’t moved he would have hit me.”

The grey Audi A3 1.9 TDi, registration SH55 WJX, is worth around £5,500.

In another incident a man drove off in a silver Volkswagen Golf 1.9 TDi, registration SV06 GRX, from Wensley Motors, in Wensley Road.

He was white, aged 28 to 30, 5ft 6ins tall with brown hair.

Garage boss Aman Qamar, 30, said: “The man said he wanted to test drive the car. The sales assistant went inside to get the trade plates, leaving the customer with the keys, which was a mistake. By the time the assistant came back out the man and the car had gone.

”It seems like they are targeting high performance cars. I don't know whether they’re selling them on or stripping them down for parts.”

The incident happened last Wednesday at around 4.30pm.

Police are investigating the two incidents which they believe could be part of an organised gang. Insp Graham Ashcroft, of Blackburn police, said: “Both cars are still outstanding and we warn garages not to let people drive away without a member of staff being with them.

“There may be somebody or a gang of people using this method to steal vehicles.”

“We ask everybody involved in selling vehicles to be careful.”