Former Love Island contestant Zara McDermott has spoken of her horror at being surrounded in her car by four men in balaclavas after she returned to her vehicle from a shopping trip on Saturday night.
The 25-year old, who appeared in the fourth series of the ITV dating show in 2015, took to her Instagram story to detail her ordeal and issued a warning to others.
"I wanted to jump on here and talk about something quite serious that just happened to me that I am feeling really shaken up about, I'm a bit emotional," she began.
"And actually just a warning because I followed my own advice here. Obviously you guys know that - if you've watched my stories - that I went to Westfield (shopping centre) today and I parked down a side street, which was about a 10 or 15-minute walk.
"I put my shopping in the boot of the car and obviously closed the boot. I get into the driver's seat of my car and I lock the door straight away. I always do this - I'm always so conscious about locking the door straight away as soon as I get in the car just because I know of so many people who have got in the car after anything.
"But especially when going shopping and someone's followed you and naturally you sometimes sit on your phone for a bit before you make a move and that is a prime time for someone to target you because sometimes the car doesn't automatically lock - it's when you start driving that it locks."
She continued: "Anyway within a few seconds of me putting my phone down I'm getting ready to go and I dropped my car key on the floor. So I bend down to pick it up and I look up and there's four guys surrounding my car most of which have balaclavas on."
The former Department for Education policy advisor then went into further detail about the harrowing affair, which naturally left her shaken as she made her way home.
The star bravely faced four men, who were on each side of her vehicle trying to get inside.
"I mean it was all so quick but this guy on the passenger side didn't - he just had his hood up and a scarf," she said. "He was trying to open the door and then I look this way [away from the door] and look back and he's tapping on the window trying to get my attention and get me to not move.
"I look in my rear view mirror and I see what I think was someone trying to get into the boot and then someone appears in front of the car. Basically surrounds the car.
"I literally didn't even think. I just put it into reverse and just put the accelerator down and the guy at the back must have moved out of the way. I just drove off and obviously I just managed to get away from that situation."
Grateful that she escaped the situation unscathed other than being shaken, Zara reiterated the importance of making sure everyone locks their doors the moment they get into their cars.
"I'm fine, but it really made me realise that one thing I always do is so important," she added. "Imagine if I didn't do that. I could have had everything stolen off me, they could have stolen the car - they could have done something to me. They could have hurt me and that's really scary.
"So I just want to use this as a lesson - remember the car doesn't always lock - always lock your car, girls and guys. Be so, so, so careful."
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