A DRIVER had to be cut free by fire crews after his car overturned on the M61.

Two women, aged about 20 and 50, managed to get themselves out of the Ford Focus C-MAX which was left on its roof.

But the driver, a man believed to be aged 55, was trapped inside until firefighters arrived and used specialist equipment to cut him free.

The driver suffered head injuries and is understood to have been taken to hospital following the crash between Junction 4 for Atherton and Leigh, and Junction 5 for Bolton, Westhoughton and Wigan.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said: "At 12.55am on Saturday, December 7, three fire engines from Farnworth and Bolton Central stations, along with the Technical Response Unit from Leigh and Ashton-under-Lyne, attended a road traffic collision on the M61 North between junctions 4 and 5.

"The incident involved one vehicle, and there was one person trapped who was released by firefighters using road traffic collision equipment.

"A total of three people were conveyed to hospital. Crews remained at the scene for approximately one hour.”

Police shut the northbound carriageway of the motorway for more than one hour while emergency services worked at the scene in the early hours of this morning.

One fire engine from Bolton Central and two crews from Farnworth, as well as tactical rescue unit from Ashton, were called at about 1am.

Farnworth crew manager Gareth Houghton said: "We were called to a collision on the M61.

"A car was on its roof. Two women had managed to get out but there was a man trapped inside the vehicle.

"We cut the side of the vehicle away to create room to get him out. We worked closely with the North West Ambulance Service to extricate him."