POLICE are appealing for witnesses after a gang hijacked a lorry containing laptop computers from Altham Industrial Estate.
The vehicle, containing Amilo Pro-V laptops worth a considerable amount of money, was parked on Shorten Brook Way outside Micro Peripherals from 11pm last Wednesday.
It had been waiting to make a delivery to the electronics firm, which distributes computers, when it opened up on Thursday morning.
But at around 2.30am three masked men with Merseyside accents forced their way into the cab, overpowered the driver and drove the lorry away.
Police believe the gang joined the M65 from Junction 8 before entering the M6 at Junction 29A. At some point they also transferred the driver, William Butler, to a small dark-coloured hatchback car.
Mr Butler, of Northern Ireland, was found at 5.45am at an industrial estate in Pemberton near Wigan. He was said to be in a state of shock but had suffered only minor physical injuries.
The vehicle, a red wagon with Blair International written in white and green lettering, was found burned out in an industrial estate in Swinton near Manchester.
Detective Sergeant Paul Broxson, who is leading the investigation, said: "This was a terrifying ordeal for the driver that has left him traumatised, but thankfully not seriously injured.
"We are sure that someone must have seen something suspicious on the hard shoulder of the motorway, or the roads around those two stretches of motorway."
Anyone with any information should contact the police on 353741.