Van rolls down town hill with dog on board

A DOG had a lucky escape when the van it was in rolled off down a steep hill in Belper and crashed into a building.

Dora, a long-haired Jack Russell, was sat in the front of the Citroen Relay van when it suddenly rolled down High Pavement.

There was no-one else in the Citroen, which had been parked outside the Josephine hairdressing shop at the junction of The Butts and High Pavement.

It is believed that the handbrake failed, causing the vehicle to roll at speed from the top of High Pavement to the bottom, where it meets Market Place.

Fortunately, no-one got in the way of it and it did not strike any others vehicles.

It finally came to a rest after smashing through two metal bollards and hitting the former Angels pottery shop. The building suffered minor damage.

Sean Pegg had been a passenger in the van, which belongs to Sweetings Interiors on The Butts, before the incident.

He quashed a rumour in the town that the dog might have let the handbrake off by mistake.

“It is quite a stiff handbrake,” said Sean. “The dog would not have been able to take it off anyway.”

He continued: “It was weird. Me and the owner got back from a delivery and the handbrake was put on.

“I took a bag of wood into Sweetings. While I was upstairs, I heard a massive crash. I just ignored it at first but when I came outside the van was not there. The owner thought it had been stolen, but then I saw it at the bottom of the hill.”

The 18-year-old, who works at Sweetings and the hairdressers, said the handbrake was still on when he ran down to check the van.

“It was a really strange situation,” said Sean.

He said that the van was almost certainly a write-off and that it had been taken away to be tested.

On Dora, Sean said: “She was shaken up, but she is all right now.”

Brenda and Michael Sanders live in the former Angels pottery shop. They heard a crash and thought there had been a car accident. “It interrupted our television,” joked Brenda. “But it is lucky the bollards were there because it would have gone onto Market Place. The main thing is no-one was hurt.”

Although, one person was slightly hurt in the aftermath, as one witness told The News: “I saw a middle-aged man walking towards the scene after it had happened with two bags full of shopping. He must have been concentrating on what happened because he tripped over the kerb and landed on the floor. A few people picked him up though and he seemed okay.”