UPDATED: Neighbour’s shock as Preston man ‘dragged under van’ by thief

Police cordon off Blairmore Drive, Bolton after a man was trapped under a van
Photo: Bolton News
Police cordon off Blairmore Drive, Bolton after a man was trapped under a van Photo: Bolton News
Share this article
2
Have your say

A Preston man was trapped under his van after apparently trying to stop a thief stealing it.

Paul Swindells, 24, was working for sign company Countrywide Signs on Erskine Close, just off Blairmore Drive, Bolton, at around 12.50pm on Saturday when it is believed he heard somebody getting into the driver’s seat of his van.

Paul Swindells of Dennis Delight. He was injured when trapped under a van in Bolton

Paul Swindells of Dennis Delight. He was injured when trapped under a van in Bolton

Paul, who lives in Walton-le-Dale and plays drums for the band Dennis Delight, was run over and trapped under the vehicle after running out into the road.

Firefighters spent half an hour freeing him from the van.

He was treated at the scene by paramedics for several injuries and was airlifted to Royal Preston Hospital, where he remains in intensive care.

Friend and Dennis Delight lead singer Frank Halliwell said: “He’s going to be out of action for quite a while. He had an operation last night to remove some screws that he was carrying that went into his body.

Dennis Delight at a gig in Preston. Paul Swindells plays drums

Dennis Delight at a gig in Preston. Paul Swindells plays drums

“They ran over him two or three times.

“He heard the van going and he jumped into the passenger seat and hung onto the door, and then he went under the van, and they reversed over him.

“He has got a damaged pelvis and broken ribs. He is going to need several skin grafts.

“He’s in intensive care, but he’s awake and talking.”

Jane Bickerstaffe, director of Countrywide Signs Preston, said: “I cannot believe such an incident has happened. Who in their right mind would do this? I am lost for words.

“He is in a serious condition but I understand that he is stable.

“We are in talks with his family. They’re as shocked as I am.

“We are wishing him a speedy recovery and are working with his family about what we can do to support him.”

A Erkskine Close resident, who asked not to be named, witnessed the incident and rushed to comfort Mr Swindells until the emergency services arrived.

He said: “It happened so, so quickly. He ran back to his van and must have got hold of the steering wheel from the man stealing it. The van drove right into my neighbour’s garden and my garden and then it turned back into the road.

“The man fell and the wheels went over him. It dragged him down to the bottom of the road. The person stealing the van then got out and ran off.

“I climbed under the van to see if he was okay and I talked to him until the fire brigade came.

“The emergency services got here very, very quickly. I was on the floor with him for about five minutes before the fire brigade took over and the ambulance and police arrived just after.”

Bolton fire station watch manager Ian Ainsworth said: “Because of the patient’s suspected injuries we had to find a controlled way of lifting the van up to a height were he could safely be moved.

“It took us half an hour to lift it and he was conscious at the scene.”

An investigation into the incident is ongoing. Anyone with information can call police on 101.