AN ELDERLY man who suffered serious head injuries when he was struck by a council van in Weymouth is in a critical condition in hospital.

Police are urging witnesses to come forward after the 84-year-old man was struck at around 12.45pm on Tuesday as he crossed Newstead Road, near to Asda supermarket.

The road was closed for more than three hours while emergency services worked and police examined the scene.

The man was treated by paramedics after sustaining serious injuries following the collision with a street cleaning vehicle used by the Dorset Waste Partnership.

He is currently in a critical condition at Dorset County Hospital.

It is understood the man was crossing near to the law courts when he was hit.

The road was closed between Marsh Road and Asda traffic lights and a cordon was put up. Buses were diverted due to the road closures.

Officers were seen to examine the vehicle - a Ford Transit Tipper van registered to a Northampton company painted with the Weymouth and Portland Borough Council logo - and took photos of the scene.

Police are appealing for 'key' witnesses who may have seen the collision to come forward.

Sergeant Stuart Pitman said at the scene: “A collision has occurred whereby an elderly male has been struck by a council van.

“He has sustained serious injuries as a result.

“I would like to appeal for any witnesses that may have seen such the vehicle in the area prior to the collision or earlier during the day.”

Sgt Pitman said he understood that people who may have seen the collision had left the scene.

He added: “I would like to thank the local community for its patience whilst we continue our investigations.

“Collision investigators have been looking at the scene but we have tried to keep road closures to an absolute minimum.”

Newstead Road was open again by 4pm.

A Dorset Waste Partnership spokesman said: “Unfortunately, one of our street cleansing vehicles was involved in a serious collision on Newstead Road, Weymouth.

“We are fully assisting the police with their investigations and our thoughts are with those involved.”

Passers-by told of their shock at the incident, but none said they had seen what happened.

One, who did not wish to be named, said: “I didn't see what happened but I understand an elderly man was hurt.

“It's just terrible. I know his injuries are serious but I hope he's going to be okay.”

Sgt Pitman is appealing for any witnesses who saw either the truck or the pedestrian prior to the collision.

Witnesses and anyone with information are asked to contact Dorset Police on 101 quoting incident number 27:182.