Electrician left clinging to van as thief speeds off

Phil Mason recovering following surgery after trying to stop a thief stealing his van
Phil Mason recovering following surgery after trying to stop a thief stealing his van
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An ex-soldier has told how he was left clinging onto his van in an attempt to stop a thief speeding away with it

Have-a-go hero Phil Mason, who bravely jumped on to the works vehicle as it sped off, is now facing at least two months off work after smashing his shoulder.

Electrician Phil, 31, hung on until the van hit a stationary car, flinging him into the air.

He said: “Being self-employed [the time off] is going to cost me a lot, but I’d do it again. You’ve got to try and retrieve what’s yours.”

Phil and pal Stu Cooper, both from the Leyland area, were working in Rochdale, when a man leapt into their Ford Transit and drove away.

Phil said: “Instinct kicked in and I reacted straight away, managing to get myself on to the side of the van.

“He took off down the road at some speed while I was clinging on and staring at him through the window. He could see I was there.

“There was a parked car on the left-hand side and he just deliberately swerved towards it, crashed into it and took me out. I was thrown up and landed on the Tarmac. He just drove off.”

The van was recovered less than a mile away after a tracker device was activated and attracted police. But Greater Manchester officers are still hunting for the driver, who made off with some of the tools on board after the incident on September 10.

Footballer Phil, player-manager of Whittle FC, is facing a frustrating time on the sidelines after being told it could be around eight weeks before he can even consider returning to action.

“I love my golf as well, so that’s out for a while too,” he said. “It’s hard at the football not being able to get on and do my bit.

“But the hardest thing is being unable to work. When you’re self-employed it can be hard going.

“Luckily we’ve got a few savings, which we put aside just in case of emergencies, so we’ll be able to manage for a while.”