A LORRY driver was abducted at knifepoint when three masked raiders hijacked his vehicle as he slept.
The balaclava-clad trio smashed their way into the cab of the lorry, which had been parked up at Altham Industrial Estate overnight on Tuesday, ready to make a delivery.
The driver, a 52-year-old German man, was attacked and threatened with a knife as the offenders drove the lorry off with him inside.
He was blindfolded, put into what was believed to be an Audi vehicle and driven to the Golborne area of Wigan, where he was dumped off the A580.
The terrified man, who speaks little English, was helped by a passer-by and was taken to Bolton Hospital, where he was treated for minor injuries.
He was taken to Accrington Police Station and a police interpreter was called in to help interview him.
The lorry, which was set alight, was found shortly after 5am near to Sports City Stadium, Manchester. The raiders stole 200 Siemens laptop computers worth about £100,000.
Detective Inspector Ian Critchley, who is leading the investigation, said: "The offenders have used a significant amount of force and violence to hold this victim against his will. It was a horrific ordeal for the man."
Police are investigating the similarities between the incident and a hijack at the industrial estate in March, where a driver was bundled into the boot of a car and his lorry containing Siemens Laptops was stolen.
Some of the computers were later recovered being sold on Internet auction site e-bay and two people were convicted of handling stolen goods.
Detective Inspector Critchley said he is appealing for witnesses who were in the area of Altham Industrial Estate between midnight and 3am.
He added: "We know at least one other vehicle was used and that there were at least five offenders involved in the attack.
"Anyone with information should contact Accrington CID on 353741 or Crimestoppers, free and in confidence, on 0800 555111."
Inquires are being conducted with the help of Greater Manchester and Merseyside police.