A STOLEN van was left abandoned in the middle of a main road after it was involved in a four-car crash during rush hour.

The vehicle was reportedly the third car involved in the incident that happened on the A6 Chorley Road in Westhoughton at just before 6pm on Tuesday.

The collision also involved a Volkswagen Passat, a BMW and a Citroen but while the drivers of the other cars moved them off the road and waited for police, two men from the white van fled the scene.

Police later revealed the van had been reported stolen from Townsfield Road in Westhoughton just after the incident had occurred.

The abandoned vehicle caused chaos on the A6 according to nearby residents with backed-up traffic.

David Gilmour, who lives close to where the incident occurred, said: "The third vehicle involved in the incident was a van and someone ran into the back of it.

"Some people got out of the cars and drove them off the road but the van was left in the middle of the A6 during peak times.

"After rush hour the traffic tends to speed up along the A6. It is a 40mph road but a lot of traffic is usually doing upwards of 50mph.

"There were cars coming up behind the van and slamming their brakes on, drivers were overtaking it on the other side of the road and there was a traffic jam building up with people getting inpatient.

"It wasn't even at the side of the road, it was right in the middle. I spoke to the people who got out the cars and they told me the driver had run off."

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police confirmed they received a report of a 'fail-to-stop collision' that happened on the A6 at before 6pm and that two men had fled the scene.

They also confirmed that the van had been left in the middle of the road and was reported stolen to officers at 6.20pm.

The owner of the van came to recover it after 7pm when the police were at the scene.

Mr Gilmour added: "The others drivers had to wait for the police to arrive. I just could not believe it had just been left in the middle of the road.

"Because it had happened during rush hour and where it had been left, I was expecting another crash."

A spokesperson from CS Civils and Groundworks Ltd, whose livery is on the van, said: “The company sincerely hopes those involved are safe and well.

"The vehicle was sold on February 2, 2018 and we have documentation from the DVLA confirming the same.

"The vehicle was sold to a reputable trader for little value on the understanding the livery would be removed.

"Moving forward, the company shall ensure that all retired fleet vehicles shall have livery removed beforehand."

It is the second incident to have occurred on that section of the A6 during rush hour in recent months.

A car smashed through a railing and into the wall of a house at 5.30pm on February 12.

The driver suffered minor injuries and was suspected to have suffered a medical episode at the wheel.