A man is thought to have shot himself at a Chorley beauty spot a few seconds after a passer-by asked him if anything was wrong.

Police say the 48-year-old, believed to be from the Worsley area, was found dead in his vehicle in a car park on Rivington Lane at 10.30pm on Sunday.

Police believe the man, who has not been named, had been involved in an argument before to driving to the isolated car park to end his life.

Minutes before the incident, a passer-by became concerned for the man’s welfare and approached his vehicle, a blue Ford Mondeo, to ask if he needed help. Police said the man told him that he had been involved in a row and intended to shoot himself.

At this point the passer-by noticed a firearm inside the car.

Sgt Sonya Spencer, from Chorley's neighbourhood policing unit said: “The passer-by saw the gun, backed away immediately and telephoned the police.

“He then said he heard two or three loud bangs which sounded like gunshots.”

Paramedics and officers from Greater Manchester and Lancashire police attended the scene, which is opposite Rivington and Blackrod High School.

On arrival they found the man slumped dead inside the car. The area surrounding the vehicle was immediately sealed off and investigations into the fatality began.

Police added they believed the dead man was registered to possess firearms but would not disclose the type of gun used.

The car park on Rivington Lane is a popular spot for people visiting Lord Leverhulme’s nearby replica ruin of Liverpool Castle as well as walkers enjoying the reservoirs and walking up nearby Rivington Pike.

The death has been referred to the coroner’s office and an inquest will be opened later in the week.