A MACHETE-wielding man carjacked a woman's Mitsubishi Lancer in Leigh town centre after punching and kicking her.

He drove off with another robber and they crashed the vehicle a short time later on Newton Road, Lowton, before fleeing towards a housing estate and onto Moss Industrial Estate near to St Helens Road.

The 35-year-old woman suffered cuts to her head, bruising to her knees and elbows and swelling to her face.

Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward.

Detective constable Andrew Partington, from Greater Manchester Police's Wigan borough division, said: “This is a frightful and deceitful incident with a man brandishing a machete in broad daylight.

“We need witnesses to come forward to find the heartless criminals who took advantage of a woman’s vulnerability and attacked her in the street."

At around 4.15pm on Friday, May 12, the victim was in her white car on Bradshawgate, at the junction of King Street, when a man drove into the back of her.

He pulled alongside her in his dark grey Volvo estate and signalled for her to follow him before driving down King Street and onto St Helens Road.

The woman believed she was travelling to a safe place to stop and swap details, but as the Volvo came to a halt on Etherstone Street and she got out of her car she was met by a man carrying a machete and wearing a balaclava.

He punched her and kicked her to the ground before taking her keys and getting into her car with another man, a passenger from the Volvo.

Enquiries have established that the Volvo, which was abandoned on Etherstone Street, had been reported stolen on Monday, May 8, from Wigan.

Officers are particularly interested in speaking to a woman who witnessed the initial collision.

DC Partington said: “If you are the woman who spoke directly to the driver of the Volvo please get in touch with us.

"We believe you could help us identify those responsible.”

A woman claims the men crashed into her white Mercedes car and two other vehicles before threatening people attending a wake at Lowton's Shepherds Inn pub and fleeing the scene.

She told the Journal: "I was driving on a bend when a white Mitsubishi going ridiculously fast came towards me.

“It went into my lane to overtake a black car and the driver of the Mitsubishi slammed on his breaks when he saw me and ended up spinning into me.

"He then collided with the black car before crashing into another parked car.

“There were a lot of people outside a wake at the Shepherds Inn and they went over to the Mitsubishi to try to stop the two men from leaving.

"But the men managed to get out of the car because they were threatening them with machetes and screaming.

“The wheels had come off the Mitsubishi and the driver looked like he was badly injured as he was very slow in getting out of the car.

“The passenger initially ran away but then went back to the car to take a white carrier bag before running off again.

“They were both dressed head to toe in black so you couldn't see their faces but I noticed that they were quite skinny and gangly and seemed to be really young.

“My car took a lot of the impact from the crash and the police said it saved the lives of the people in the black car.

“Some of the men from the funeral managed to help me get out of my car.

“I was really lucky because it was up in smoke."

Anyone with information should contact police on 0161 856 7225 or 101, quoting reference number 1,590 of May 12, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.