A driver locked a would-be thief inside his car before alerting the police and prompting a foot chase during a botched carjacking in Epsom on Friday (January 17).

Surrey Police said they were hunting three suspects after the dramatic events unfolded on Longmead Road in Epsom.

A police spokesperson said the attempted car theft happened around 9am on Friday:

"At 9am an unknown man got into a red Fiat Abarth on Longmead Road instructing the driver of the vehicle to pull over into a side road.

"The driver refused and drove on eventually coming to a stop at traffic lights near Blenheim School on Longmead Road.

"The victim jumped out of the car, locked it, ran into the school and called the police.

"As officers arrived at the scene three male suspects were seen at the rear of the red Fiat on Longmead Road with its boot up.

"They immediately ran off in the direction of Chessington Road," the spokesperson said.

Police also described the suspects and foot chase that followed in some detail, after all three men managed to evade capture.

"Suspect one, described as being in his 20s, of slim build, about 6ft tall and wearing a white t-shirt with a black long-sleeved top on underneath, began discarding a number of items in the road including number plates, a coat and a bag as he ran and turned left into Sefton Road, then right down an alley in Cumberland Close before being lost from sight.

"Suspect two, also in his 20s, of slim build and wearing a dark grey/green hooded jacket ran left onto Sefton Road.

"Suspect three, described as being of average build, ran into Gibraltar Crescent."

PC Matthew Legg, who is investigating the incident, meanwhile described what happened as "extremely distressing" for the person targeted in the attempted theft as he described the police investigation.

"This was an extremely distressing ordeal for the victim, who, thankfully, was not injured.

"We would like to reassure the local community that we are pursuing a number of lines of enquiry and doing everything we can to trace those responsible," PC Legg said.

Police are appealing to members of the public for help in tracking down the three suspects.

If you think you can help, call 101 immediately, quoting crime reference number PR/45200006581.

You can also give information anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.