Troublemakers thrown out of club mow down 25 people in stolen car

TWENTY five people were hurt after a car ploughed into a crowd of people outside a nightclub, knocking them down "like skittles".

Two suffered serious injures in Rochdale at 2.10am yesterday.

Witnesses said the driver of the stolen car had been thrown out of the club and deliberately mounted the pavement to target security staff.

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The vehicle careered on for nearly 200 yards, mowing down more people as pedestrians fled in terror.

Paramedics found the injured lying scattered by the road outside the Dali Bar on Packer Street, opposite Rochdale's town hall. Many were screaming and shouting for help in chaotic scenes.

Police were last night hunting the motorist and his passenger. The Saab vehicle was found abandoned two hours after the incident.

One of the vicitms, a 17-year-old boy, told reporters the car ran over his leg.

"It looked like a fight, then I looked by the side of me and there were loads of people on top of the car and by the time anything happened he had already hit me," he said.

"It was like something out of a film. I looked behind and there were people all over lying on the floor in a right mess.

"It was madness. Everyone was running all over."

Chief Superintendent John Rush, heading the investigation for Greater Manchester Police, said two men had been ordered out of the club because of their behaviour.

"Moments later a car was driven onto the pavement and headed towards the door staff. This was at a time when dozens of people were coming out of bars. These people were knocked down like skittles. This was a deliberate and reckless act," he said.

Nine ambulances were sent to the scene and 14 casualties – seven men and seven women – were taken by ambulance to three local hospitals in Bury, Oldham and Manchester. Eleven others made their own way to hospital in Rochdale. At least one of the injured has a fractured skull.

The car, stolen last month in Sale, Greater Manchester, was found two miles away in Albert Royds Street.

The bar is part of a parade of nightspots and the area was very busy at the time. Yesterday it was sealed off as police carried out forensic checks. Items including mobile phones, clothing and shoes still lay on the ground.

Detective Inspector Darren Meeks said the actions of the motorist were "incomprehensibly dangerous and reckless".

He added: "I want to reassure members of the public that we are following some excellent lines of inquiry and would urge the two men in the car to hand themselves in before we come knocking at your door."

Anyone with information should call 0161 872 5050, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.