Man who clung to stolen van in Essex critical

A man who tried to stop two thieves stealing his van by clinging to the outside of the vehicle was left with "terrible injuries" police have said.

The driver was making a courier delivery in Wood Avenue, Purfleet, Essex, when two suspects jumped into the vehicle and drove off.

The victim, in his 50s - from the Havering area, clung to the outside of the cab, Essex Police said.

He fell off after about 100 yards and the vehicle ran over him.

He was left lying in the road as the van sped off. The theft happened at about 12:20 BST.

An air ambulance landed nearby and took him to the Royal London Hospital where he is in a critical condition.

'Callous thieves'

A police spokesman said: "A widespread search involving ground units and the police helicopter was carried out but officers found no trace of the suspects."

Initial witness statements suggest the first suspect, who drove the van, was in his late 20s or early 30s, of medium build, about 5ft 8in (1.7m) and wearing a grey top and dark trousers. The passenger is thought to be in his 40s.

Ch Insp Rachel Nolan said the road was closed while forensic crime scene investigations were carried out.

She added: "This is an appalling incident in which a driver has been critically injured while trying to prevent the theft of his van and the packages he was carrying for a courier company.

"The two thieves callously drove off while the man was holding on to the cab then ran away leaving him with terrible injuries.

"We urgently need help from the public to find these criminals."

Anyone with information is asked to call Essex Police.

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