A 4,000-mile phone call let a shop owner know a speeding driver had destroyed his store in the middle of the night.
Shahid Chughtai was on holiday in Pakistan when he learned that his Premier Top Shop in Cog Lane was in ruins, and that the driver had fled, leaving a black BMW Series 3 embedded in the wreckage.
“It was awful”, he said. “I knew something must be wrong because when the call came through it was 3.10 in the morning in England. I looked at the pictures and CCTV footage on my phone; I couldn’t believe it.”
Mr Chughtai had been due to return from holiday this weekend, but instead caught the first flight home.
The sound of the car smashing into the shop woke neighbours in the street. Said Mr Chughtai: “They had reversed into the property - the car was inside the shop - and the shop was destroyed. It was ten seconds, the wall was down and everything was smashed.”
Insurance assessors say £40,000 of damage was done.
It must have been going at 60mph, and the driver did well to survive. He was very luckyShopkeeper
“Two cars had come into Cog Lane from Rossendale Road and one of them did a U-turn,” said Mr Chughtai. “There was a silver VW hatchback, either a Polo or a Golf, and the BMW with the registration number T59 RKC.
“We know the reg because they left the car there and the driver ran away in the VW.
“They had parked across the road and then the BMW reversed into the shop. It must have been going at 60mph, and the driver did well to survive. He was very lucky.”
Images captured on CCTV show the driver to be Asian, in his 20s, 5ft 7 or 8in tall and of slim/medium build. He was wearing a grey tracksuit or pyjamas and a jumper.
Police are still investigating the incident.