Express & Star driver airlifted after van stolen in Willenhall

An Express & Star delivery driver has been airlifted to hospital with head injuries after the van he was unloading was stolen in Willenhall.

Police were called to Castle Drive at around 1.05pm today.

The 65-year-old driver was fetching Express & Star newspapers from the back of his white Ford Transit van when someone jumped in the front seat and drove off, throwing him to the ground.

He suffered bruising and cuts to his head and was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham by an air ambulance sent to the scene from RAF Cosford. The helicopter landed in the grounds of Pool Hayes secondary school in Castle Drive.

Police today cordoned off the car park of the Premier convenience store in Willenhall to carry out investigations. The van was found 20 minutes later in nearby Ernest Clarke Close and police were using dogs in an effort to find the culprit. No arrests have been made.

The driver, who gave chase to the thief, suffered a glancing blow from the van, which had branding from the Express & Star’s sister paper the Shropshire Star. He was today described as stable in hospital.

The offender is described as a white man, who was wearing a white jogging top and bottoms.

West Midlands Police Chief Inspector Paul Marriott, said: “The van had Shropshire Star branding on the side and rear and is therefore fairly distinctive.

“We are keen to hear from anyone who saw the van being taken or driven away from the scene.

“Likewise, if anyone saw the van being dumped on Ernest Clarke Close and the suspect running away, we would like you to come forward.”

Phil Inman, managing director of Express & Star publisher MNA, said: "Our initial focus is on the driver's well being. We hope he makes a rapid recovery.

"We will assist the police in their investigations to ensure those responsible are brought to justice."

Witnesses should call 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.