‘Nice bloke’ run down by own car in ‘mecca’ for thieves

A 63-year-old man fighting for his life after thieves ran him over while stealing his car is a “nice bloke” who lives in “a mecca for stealing”.

Police arrested two people after the man was struck in Nook Lane, Ashford-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, by his own car on Friday morning.

His neighbour, Kenneth Cooper, 66, who lives in Rushmere, the street where the theft happened, said: “He’s a nice bloke, he’s a really nice family guy. He’s a pretty quiet bloke and a nice bloke – he doesn’t deserve what’s happened to him.

“(This area) is a mecca for stealing.”

Detectives arrested a 46-year-old man on suspicion of attempted murder and a 45-year-old woman on suspicion of assisting an offender after the incident at about 7.20am.

Both were in custody on Saturday morning as the victim remained in hospital in a critical condition with serious head injuries.

The theft happened in a cul-de-sac before the victim was hit near a mini roundabout in an adjacent street, which is also connected to the cul-de-sac by a footpath.

Nook Lane, in Ashton-under-Lyne, where the man was hit
A 63-year-old man is fighting for his life after suffering serious head injuries when he was hit by his own car in Nook Lane, Ashton-under-Lyne, as it was being stolen (Peter Byrne/PA)

Mr Cooper, a retired former soldier, added: “I saw the car going down the road and it was not going at breakneck speed or anything. I thought it was him going to work, he normally did at that time.

“He’s run down the ginnel (alleyway) at the bottom while the car’s going around the corner.”

The victim has lived in the street for about 10 years, Mr Cooper said.

“It’s not unusual at all. I’m sick to death of my car being broken into if I ever leave it open,” he added.

“They (thieves) try your car doors.”

Police at the scene on Friday were also asking neighbours in surrounding streets for CCTV of the incident.

The theft happened in Rushmere
The theft happened in Rushmere (Peter Byrne/PA)

Several streets were sealed off by police tape for several hours as forensics officers searched for evidence.

A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said the suspects, driving the victim’s red Citroen C1, fled the scene after the collision.

The car was later discovered about a mile away.

Detective Inspector Benjamin Cottam, from the force’s major incident team, said: “The man remains in a critical condition in hospital, and my thoughts are with him and his family at this truly awful time.

“Although we now have two people in custody, this investigation is very much ongoing and I would urge anyone with information to please come forward to police if you haven’t done so already.

“I’d like to appeal to anyone who saw the red Citroen C1 in the area at the time, or anyone with dashcam footage, to please get in touch with us as soon as you possibly can.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 0161 856 9289 or 101 quoting incident number 363 of 15/02/2019, or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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