By PAUL THORNTON
A MAN was fighting for his life in hospital tonight (thurs) after being found dying near a school.
Police were still carrying out door to door inquiries in Whitburn, West Lothian, after the 25-year-old was found bleeding on a road.
Neighbours said the man may have been stabbed.
Local joiner Joe Gillies, 18, said: “I heard that there were three men having a knife fight in the street and one of them got stabbed.”
Police were unwilling to comment on the claims.
Officers were called in around 11am and the man – who suffered “critical” injuries – was rushed to hospital in an attempt to save him.
Tonight his condition was reported to be “touch and go”.
Detectives sealed off much of the area around Townhead Gardens and flooded the area with officers to try and track down three suspects.
The men – all in their 20’s – were spotted near to the scene in a silver coloured car.
Police confirmed they were trying to trace the occupants as part of their inquiries.
Two nearby schools – Whitburn Academy and Whitdale Primary – agreed to keep pupils indoors to allow police to conduct their work without fear of scaring them or being impeded.
A spokesperson from West Lothian Council said: “The police advised us that the pupils shouldn’t be allowed on the school grounds at lunchtime.
“The schools go out for lunch at 12.30pm but the police were carrying out work in the area at the time.”
The council spokesperson added the pupils were allowed to go home as normal at the end of the day.
Speaking at the scene of the incident, Superintendent Graham Jones said: “About 11.10am police were called to the Townhead Gardens area of Whitburn where we found a seriously injured male in the road.
“He has subsequently been taken to hospital where his condition is critical.”
“There appears to have been some kind of incident in the road and we are looking for two to three males who may be responsible.
“We are following a positive line of enquiry but there is a still a need for people to come forward and give us the information so we can try to build-up a picture of what happened.
“Also we are looking for a silver coloured vehicle which was in the area at that time containing witnesses or in fact being used as part of the incident itself.”
“We suspect there may be two or three males, in their 20s, who may have been in the area at the time, possibly as witnesses but may have been involved in the incident.
“Further down the line we can be more specific but it is still very early on.
“What we are trying to do at the moment is we are preserving the locus so that we can gather as much evidence as we can, clearly there is a lot of forensic activity that needs to take place and that is ongoing.
“Once we get that evidence we will start to contract the cordons down and things can get back to normal.”
He said there were no plans yet to interview any pupils from the neighbouring schools.
He said: “It is unlikely that we would go down that route, it seems to have been fairly contained in this area.
“We will have lots of extra officers in the area over the next few days and I would ask that if anyone has any information I would ask that they approach those officers and offer up that information to them.”
He added: “Because of the time of day it was we asked a couple of the local schools to keep the pupils in the school over lunch in order that we get control over the scene so we did not contaminate the evidence or have a difficulty because of lots of youngsters being drawn in to what was happening.
“The schools were kind enough to keep the pupils in over lunch time albeit there was no risk to the pupils in letting them out.
“It was purely logistical from our perspective.”
Last night parts of the street were still sealed off behind a police cordon.
Anyone with information about the incident was asked to contact Lothian and Borders Police on 0131 311 3131.