Three young people are being sought by police after a 70-year-old man was bashed and robbed of a car while taking a prospective female vehicle buyer for a test drive in Hastings.

The attack happened about 2.30pm on Saturday when the man was assaulted and pulled from his grandson's silver Subaru, registration number FMU640, in Townshend St, a short distance from St Leonards Park.

The woman was test driving the vehicle following an approach to the owner after the car was advertised for sale on Facebook.

When the vehicle stopped in Townshend Rd the woman was joined by two masked men who had approached from the direction of the park.


The victim was punched in the head and about the body before the assailants left the man in the street and drove off in the car, which was used soon afterwards in a petrol drive-off from a Z service station at the corner of Maddison St and Heretaunga St East.

On Sunday afternoon, more than 24 hours after the attack, the man still had a black eye, the car was still missing and no one had been apprehended, although police were expected to review CCTV images in an attempt to identify the attackers.

The driver was described as being a fair-skinned Maori woman of solid build and possibly aged in the mid-20s. She wore a dark hoodie, black shorts and sneakers.

Her accomplices were described only as wearing dark hoodies and face masks.

Detective Ryan Kemsley, of Hawke's Bay CIB, said it was likely the offenders would have been seen in the area, and people who had been suspicious activity in Townshend St, Southampton St and St Leonards Park about the time of the incident were asked to contact Hastings Police on (06) 831 0700 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

The incident revived memories of a July 2018 attack in which a man was forced into his car in the Hastings Countdown Foodmarket carpark, driven to an ATM to withdraw funds from his bank account, and then left alone in his car as the offenders abandoned his vehicle near the supermarket.

Two women charged in relation to that incident are still facing court proceedings, but police were also seeking a possible third suspect who had not been identified.