DRIVE BY attacks that left three people hurt after being struck by objects may have  involved thugs firing mint imperials at their victims, it is believed.

As the Star revealed last week, a man was left unconscious by the side of a busy street after he was hit by an object fired from a passing car in one of four deliberate attacks that police believed are linked.

Officers were called to Main Street in Billinge at 7pm last Thursday (July 10) following reports that a man was out cold by the side of the road.

Police believe that an object – which the Star has been told may have been a hard mint - was thrown from a moving silver Vauxhall Astra.

Paramedics found a small puncture wound to the side of the man’s head. He was taken to hospital but his condition is not thought to be serious.

Ten minutes later police were called to College Street in the town centre following reports two youngsters had also been targeted.

One of the youths aged 15 suffered a facial injury and needed hospital treatment.

Just over two hours later a person called police saying something had been thrown at them while walking along Church Road in Haydock. They were unharmed.

Officers then received a further report of a boy being struck on Crow Lane East in Newton-le-Willows at 10.15pm. The victim was left with a bruised face. One police source said: “We think they are using hard mints – like mint imperials. The speed of the travelling car combined with the force of the throw make it feel like being hit by something fired out of a catapult.

“It is very dangerous and the offenders could land themselves in serious trouble.”

Now police are appealing for anyone with information or who saw a silver Astra being driven erratically.

Detective Sergeant Jackie Guinness said: “Three people have been left with visible injuries following these incidents, some requiring hospital treatment. At this stage of the investigation we believe two young men, with short dark hair have been driving around and firing objects from the car at people in the street.

“This kind of reckless behaviour will not be tolerated and I am sure the local community will agree this is completely unacceptable.”

Star readers branded the culprits idiots after a report of the incident featured on the Star’s website.

Police say they have dealt with four formal reports but it has been suggested to the Star by readers that similar incidents have taken place over the past fortnight.

One reader wrote on Facebook that her husband had been struck in Haydock, while there were also unconfirmed claims of a man being hit in Blackbrook.

Those invovled have been described as "idiots" by Star readers.

  • Call Merseyside Police on 0151 777 6802 or 0151 777 6013 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.