A MAN suffered a serious head injury when he shot himself with a crossbow.

The incident happened when he was spotted by a police officer in a vehicle on Beacon Fell, in the Forest of Bowland.

The officer retreated to a safe distance when the man drove off at speed. The incident, which started around 2.30am on July 1, resulted in the vehicle being pursued.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “He was eventually stopped on the M55 eastbound link to the M6 southbound.

“The man then discharged the crossbow which caused him to suffer a serious head injury. He was taken to Royal Preston Hospital.”

The motorway had to be shut to allow emergency services to access the scene. It reopened around 7.45am. The man was taken to hospital where he was said to be in a stable condition.

The matter has now been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

The police spokesman added: “Investigations are ongoing into the circumstances and it has been voluntarily referred to the IPCC which is standard.”

A spokesman for the IPCC confirmed they had been made aware of the incident yesterday.

He said: “We will carry out an assessment to determine the necessary level of IPCC involvement.”

Police forces must refer the most serious cases, whether or not someone has made a complaint, to the IPCC.

The body, which is independent of the police and Government, may decide to investigate such cases itself, manage or supervise the police force’s investigation, or return it for local investigation.