DETECTIVES are today hunting the driver of a car that rammed another vehicle off the road nearby a pub last night.

They are also trying to trace three men who fled a car that crashed in a separate incident ninety minutes later following an apparent road race.

The first of the frightening flashpoints – which police this evening confirmed are not connected – happened near the Black Horse pub in Rainhill, as revealed by the St Helens Star last night.

Police believe three men were travelling in a Volkswagen Golf along Rainhill Road when it was deliberately rammed by another vehicle, causing it to be shunted into the pub car park.

At the scene last night – which was cordoned off following the incident that happened at 7.15pm - witnesses told the Star three men had fled the car and rushed into the pub.

It is said the men urged staff to phone police, claiming their car had been fired at.

However, senior officers said today that reports the car had also been shot at were confirmed by police to be “unsubstantiated”.

Two men were believed to be in a silver car, possibly a VW Passat, that rammed the Golf. They swiftly escaped the scene of the attack.

The second flashpoint happened around an hour and half later – just a few miles away at the Bull and Dog roundabout on Clock Face Road – as three vehicles collided following a suspected car race.

A police statement read: “It is believed that two cars, a grey BMW and a red Vauxhall Vectra were racing each other along Chester Lane when they collided with a third vehicle.

“During the incident the Vectra overturned and landed on its roof.

“Following the collision the driver of the BMW, along with two other men, were seen to run from the car shortly after the crash.”

A woman in her 40s was rescued from the Vectra and taken to Whiston Hospital by ambulance crews. She is believed to have escaped without injury.

Pub goers at the Bull and Dog described to the Star how they had been alerted to the smash by a loud bang and had headed outside to see the BMW abandoned on the roundabout and the Vectra on its roof beside the car park.

A police statement added: “Enquiries are ongoing, however, police can confirm that the two incidents are not linked.”

Chief Inspector Derek Riley added: “These two incidents, particularly the road collision, occurred on or around main roads outside public houses and there is likely to have been a number of people in the area who may have seen what happened.

“The police are committed to tackling reckless and dangerous driving on the roads and I would appeal for anyone who witnessed either of these incidents to contact police on 0151 777 6887 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”