Swedish police investigate spate of motorway attacks on Danish cars

Swedish police are investigating why rocks are being thrown at cars with Danish licence plates in southern Sweden, after a spate of more than 100 attacks.

Swedish police investigate spate of motorway attacks on Danish cars
Police monitoring the E65 road earlier this year, after a spate of rock-throwing. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police this week said that at least 102 cars have now been targeted, while news wire TT reported on Tuesday that the hundredth car was hit on the E65 road between Malmö and Ystad. In that incident, the rock hit the front windshield but the driver was unharmed.

“It’s pure luck that no one has been seriously injured,” police spokesperson Ewa-Gun Westford told TT.

The E65 is the most common route for Danish drivers who are taking the ferry from Ystad to Bornholm, a Danish island in the Baltic sea which can only be reached by passing through southern Sweden. 

The stone throwing began in April but went undetected at first, since most of those affected thought it was an isolated incident. 

“We believe that everyone now has called in and reported it because we have faced heavy pressure from Danish media, so it cannot have escaped anyone that there is a possibility of being attacked with stones and to call in and report it,” Westford told The Local.

The Danish Minister of Justice Nick Hækkerup has contacted his Swedish counterpart Morgan Johansson to discuss the issue.

Although there was a drop in cases around Midsummer when the police put extra resources into preventing the attacks, they have recently picked up again as the peak season on Bornholm approaches.

Around 95 percent of the affected cars are Danish registered and are on their way either to or from the Bornholm ferry in Ystad, according to the police. 

Danish cars tend to arrive on the E65 in convoy, since they will have tickets for their ferry at a specific time.

Police request those affected to stop the car and call the emergency number 112 if hit by a rock.

Because motorists may choose not to stop if they think it will cause them to run late for the ferry, the Bornholm ferry operator has introduced a policy stating that travellers will receive a new ticket if they miss the ferry as a result of stopping and alerting the police.

Although most travellers have been unharmed, in May a man was badly hurt when a rock crashed through the front windshield leaving him blind in one eye and with several broken teeth.

Westford said the police have theories about why Danes are being targeted, but did not want to speculate in the media.

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