A MAN sat in his car while he video called his girlfriend in Italy was set upon by two thugs who tried to rob him.

For more than a minute Flaviu Stingu wrestled with his attackers as they tried to haul him out of the driver’s seat.

The victim eventually managed to start the car and speed off.

At Bolton Crown Court one of the robbers, Travis Dootson, was jailed for three years.

Rachel Widdicombe, prosecuting, told how, just before midnight on May 19, Mr Stingu was sat in his car parked in Nile Street, in a quiet industrial area of Bolton.

“He was parked up because he was Facetiming his girlfriend in Italy. He had just finished work as a delivery driver and was heading home,” said Miss Widdicombe.

He noticed two men walking past the car from Cochrane Street who then stopped a short distance away.

“Initially Mr Stingu did not think anything of it and carried on with his conversation,” said Miss Widdicombe.

But then they walked past again and one of the men asked for a cigarette but Mr Stingu said he didn’t have any.

The men came back a third time and attacked him through his open car window.

“They were shouting at him to open his car and were trying to grab the door handle,” said Miss Widdicombe.

“They managed to open the door and were grabbing at his legs trying to drag him out of the car.

“They both kept shouting, ‘give me the money’.”

Mr Stingu kept trying to start the car but was unable to because his legs were out of the vehicle and so he could not press the clutch pedal.

After a prolonged struggle he managed to free himself, started the car and drove off before alerting police. The car door was so badly damaged that it needed replacing and Mr Stingu suffered a bleeding nose and sore limbs.

Police recognised 22-year-old Dootson, of Bradford Street, Bolton, from CCTV footage at the scene, he was arrested and pleaded guilty to assault with intent to rob.

Kevin Liston, defending, told Judge Graeme Smith that Dootson was "plagued by drug misuse and homelessness". He was living rough in a town centre car park and committing crime to pay for crack cocaine, heroin and Spice.

The court heard that his accomplice has yet to be caught, although Dootson has given police his name.

Sentencing Dootson, Judge Smith told him: "I am aware of your background and difficulties that you have suffered but that goes no way to explain or excuse your behaviour.

"Mr Stingu has indicted that, although he is a robust individual, he has been very shaken by this event. He no longer feels safe when he is on his own and that is not surprising."