A DRIVER has warned others to be vigilant after a thief snuck into his car while he was helping a homeless man near the junction of Chorley New Road and Chorley Old Road.

Paul Tatlock was driving home after playing tennis when he saw a homeless man in the middle of the road at the traffic lights.

He went to help the man, along with another driver. But a woman sat in her car nearby watched as a second man crept up to Mr Tatlock’s car and opened the door.

She alerted Mr Tatlock and when he returned, he discovered his wallet was missing. At this point it became apparent the homeless man had been feigning the illness as he had fled.

Mr Tatlock later saw the two men with a third and tried to get his wallet back, but the man denied having it.

The police were contacted along with the ambulance service. It was reported that the man was arrested.

The incident happened on July 5, at around 8.30pm, and the wallet remains missing.

Mr Tatlock has shared his experience to warn others to be vigilant and has called for advice on what to do in this situation.

He said: “When I came up to the traffic lights I could see this homeless man in the road, he looked as if he was about to die, it was awful.

“The other man gave him a bit of a push which seemed to wake him up a bit. I thought that we should try and move him to somewhere safe, he was saying ‘I don’t care if I die’.

“Then a woman shouted that another man had been into my car while my back was turned and this panicked me.

“It seemed that the homeless man was a bit better than I initially thought so I went back to my car and saw that my wallet was missing.

“It was strange as there was a new packet of cigarettes which was still there and my expensive tennis racquet, but I guess these people are just after drug money.

“We saw the men head off and I went with the woman to try and persuade them to give me my wallet back.

“They were all talking, so clearly they were in it together. The police and an ambulance did turn up but my wallet wasn’t found.

“I know I left my car unlocked but this man seemed to be seriously ill, my first thought was to help him.

“People need to know what to do in these situations, I had been led into this ‘sting’ situation.

“I felt awful all the way through, it was very upsetting to see someone you believe is about to die – it was an extremely cruel thing to do.

“I also feel daft that I left my car unlocked, with the keys still in. But I had to help him.

“I hope that others can be made aware of this so it doesn’t happen again, and the police can provide guidance on what to do in these situations.”

Greater Manchester Police has been contacted for comment.