Police launched a manhunt after a shopkeeper and his daughter had a narrow escape when a 4x4 vehicle came within inches of ploughing into their premises.
A Hyundai Tuscon being pursued by police ended up precariously perched on a wall outside Pricewise in Hawes Side Lane, Marton after speeding through the junction facing the shop at full speed and clipping a passing car.
The 4x4 turned 180 degrees and as its rear end hit the shop wall, its rear offside wheel was dislodged in the impact and shattered the reinforced glass in the lower part of the shop door.
The driver then fled the scene.
The shop faces the junction with Watson Road.
The incident, which left the Hawes Side Lane road sign lying amid the debris of the boundary wall, happened shortly before 11am
Shopkeeper Pervaiz Akhter said: “I am just so grateful there were no customers in the shop at the time.
“The last one had left just a couple of minutes beforehand and if it had been a few hours earlier, when the area is very busy with the children on their way to school, the shop would have been packed.”
Mr Akhter, 55, who had run the convenience shop for 13 years, and his 32-year-old daughter Amina were behind the counter, which backs onto the shop frontage, at the time of the crash.
He added: “There was a tremendous bang and we saw the wheel come through the shop doorway – we wondered what on earth was going on and it was very scary.
“We have had a few incidents on the road outside the shop over the years, as there are sometimes problems at that junction, but never anything as dramatic as this.
“It is amazing how the vehicles ended up perched on the wall after the impact and I am just glad we have the reinforced glass which reduced the impact and prevented the damage being much worse.”
Mark Lowin, who lives in a flat above the shop, was watching TV when he heard the impact.
“The whole building shook - I thought a bomb had gone off,” he said. “I ran downstairs to check if everyone was OK and if there was anything I could do to help.
”I’ve been here eight years and never seen anything like it, although the road outside is very busy and can have its problems.
“It is just good there was no-one entering or leaving the shop at the time - they would have had no chance.”
Police were examining CCTV footage of the crash as the Hyundai was removed from the scene.
A Lancashire Police spokesman confirmed the vehicle was being pursued at the time of the incident and that the driver, believed to be a man, then made off from the scene.
“An investigation is underway and inquiries ongoing,” added the spokesman.