In an incident of violent retribution, a mob of villagers in Bihar's Samastipur district beat five alleged criminals to death on Tuesday.

The police retrieved three country made pistols, a 12 mm magazine, nine 7.62 mm cartridges, two .303 bullets and two stolen motorcycles from the site of the scuffle.

“Of the five, two had criminal antecedents while the records of the other three are being checked upon,” said ADG (Headquarters) Mr. P.K. Thakur, speaking to The Hindu.

Eyewitness accounts said that the six men entered Chakpahar village under Tajpur police station in two motorcycles on Tuesday morning.

The villagers raised an alarm when one of the men pointed a pistol at a mechanic, when the latter asked for payment for repairing the punctured tyre of one the vehicles.

The seething crowd, which had been steadily building up by then, dragged the six men to a nearby temple, where they were physically beaten up and bludgeoned with heavy clubs.

While one managed to escape, four were killed on the spot, while the fifth ruffian succumbed to injuries before he could be treated.

The villagers were keeping a watch over certain known criminals following the theft of a few motorcycles in the area, Samastipur SP said.

“Of the vehicles retrieved from the spot, one belonged to a teacher from whom it was stolen a week ago,” he said.