A woman who was flown to hospital with serious injuries after a hit-and run in Sunderland could have been the victim of a theft just seconds before she was struck.
Police were called to Chester Road, close to Sunderland Royal Hospital, shortly before 3.30pm today.
A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: "At 3.26pm today (Friday), police received a report that a pick-up style van had been in collision with a pedestrian on Chester Road, Sunderland.
"The truck did not stop at the scene and an investigation has been launched to trace it and identify the driver.
"The 26-year-old female pedestrian has been taken to hospital with serious injuries but they are not believed to be life-threatening at this stage.
"A full road closure is also in place on Chester Road at this time.
"Enquiries into the circumstances around the collision are ongoing but a witness has reported to police that the pedestrian may have been a victim of a theft in the moments before the collision.
"Now officers are appealing for anyone who saw the collision to get in touch with police.
"Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 quoting log 673 14/09/18 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."
Chester Road is shut between Eldon Street and The Stumble Inn pub at The Royalty
Accident investigators have begun setting up equipment outside Barclays Bank.
A North East Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: "We were called to a report of a road traffic collision in Chester Road, Sunderland, at 15.18.
"We dispatched two double-crewed ambulances and our critical care car and requested support from the Great North Air Ambulance.
"One patient has been flown to the RVI."
A spokesman for the Chesters said: "Everything was cordoned off after it happened.
"The police had to clear the car park of cars to allow the air ambulance to land.
"We are still open but people can't get in and out of the cordon at the minute."
One local resident said details of what had happened were unclear: "We have been chatting to police but they have been very vague," he said.
Drivers are being urged to seek alternative routes.
Bus company Go NorthEast has put diversions in operation.
Services 2, 2A, 39 & 78 are operating via Kayll Road and Hylton Road. Service 35 is operating via Durham Road direct to the Barnes while service 700 is operating via Durham Road and Ormonde Street to the Royal Hospital.
Also read: Accident investigators probe hit and run