A BIRTHDAY celebration turned into a nightmare as a family’s car was stolen by force from outside a restaurant.

A couple had been celebrating the birthday of their 11-year-old son last Monday at the Toby Carvery in London Road, Langley when they went to leave at around 8.50pm. The mother and son went to their white Audi first in the car park, while the father and seven-year-old brother stayed inside to pay the bill.

But when the two entered the Audi, and the mother turned on the ignition, a car parked opposite reversed into them, striking their vehicle hard. When the shocked mother got out of the car to speak to the occupants, one man got out and pushed her to the floor before jumping in the Audi and making off at speed down the M4. Luckily the 11-year-old had managed to jump out of the car by the time it was stolen.

The other vehicle, which had reversed into the Audi, also made off at speed in the car park, forcing the mother to jump out of the way, Thames Valley Police (TVP) said.

Sharon Sandhu, 37, of Langley, who was in the restaurant when it happened, said: “There was a lot of commotion inside and my husband saw a car speed off through the window. He ran outside to see if he could help the father and at that point I finished my dinner.”

She added that the mother was in tears after the incident. She said: “They were hysterical so I sat with them inside to help them call the police.”

Mrs Sandhu said the mother had run back into the restaurant initially shouting out the registration of what she believed was the offending vehicle. TVP said this was possibly a dark coloured Vauxhall or Volkswagen.

Mrs Sandhu said: “It was shock and awe really because the child (11) was worrying about what could have happened to him. I gave the dad my phone to use and stayed with the kids inside to try and distract them.

“The mother held me tightly - we were complete strangers but she was really grateful.” The mother’s mobile phone and handbag were also taken as they had been inside the Audi at the time.

Call police on 101, quoting reference 43180113894, with any information.