DOZENS of cars were wrecked after a bike-riding vandal went on an astonishing rampage.
Witnesses say they saw the man brazenly riding up house drive after drive in Wigan Road, Hindley Green and Atherton, simply to smash in vehicle windows.
A bus shelter was also shattered, and the overall repair bill is already being estimated at several thousands of pounds.
Afraid to approach him in case he was armed, one 33-year-old onlooker followed the cyclist for several miles along Atherton Road, Hindley Green, through to Atherton police station in Bag Lane, while waiting for police to arrive.
He said at one point, the gaunt-faced thief looked him right in the eye and yet carried on vandalising regardless.
He was not sure if anything was stolen, but wondered whether the thief had an accomplice in a car spotted in a side street to whom he was passing his spoils.
Police, however, say that the reports they have received are all of criminal damage so far.
The witness said: “I have never seen anything like it. The guy was going up to house after house and breaking car drivers’ windows.
“He was clumsy and didn’t seem to be bothered about who might be watching.
“He looked right at me at one point because I was tracking him in my car but he just carried on.
“I saw him cause damage to at least 20 cars before he veered off into the Belvedere estate.
“There would have been a lot of people waking up in the morning very unhappy.”
The Winstanley man, who was taking his mother-in-law home to Atherton, says the first incident he spotted was outside the Kebab King takeaway on Wigan Road, Hindley Green, shortly after 2am on Wednesday, where a silver Lexus had a window put through. Two cars parked nearby were next, followed by the bus shelter outside by Tesco Express.
He says the cyclist was white, in his late 20s to early 30s, thin with prominent cheekbones, and was wearing a black woollen hat, beige jacket and dark trousers.
One victim, a recently widowed man living in Atherton Road, said: “He smashed the driver’s side window of both my and my late wife’s cars – a Peugeot and a Nissan – and it will cost £150 to repair.
“In the 23 years I have lived here, there has been nothing like this before and I cannot see what the point of this was.”
A neighbour, whose Mercedes had a window put through, added: “The first I knew was at 8.30am when I saw police pull up at the front. They were looking at my car and wrote down the registration number, so I went out and saw the car had been vandalised.
“It is not so much the crime, as the nightmare inconvenience. I suppose we can count ourselves reasonably lucky that my wife and daughter’s cars weren’t damaged too.”
A police spokesman said an officer on the way to another call-out came across some of the damaged cars himself, and then other calls began coming in from victims and witnesses.
Officers quickly attended a number of these scenes, and inquiries were immediately made to trace the owners of the damaged vehicles and to try to locate the offender.
Supt Stuart Ellison, from Wigan Police, said: “It would not appear anything has been stolen, but a number of vehicles have been damaged along a long route of road and side roads stretching from Hindley to Atherton.
“Criminal damage is a crime we take very seriously. This mindless and indiscriminate vandalism has affected a number of our local residents.
“Inquiries are ongoing to identify who is responsible. Anyone with information is asked to call police on 0161 872 5050.”