A MAN has been bailed after a horrific hit and run cycle crash left a young Poole schoolgirl in a critical condition.

Nine-year-old Leila Crofts is currently in the paediatric intensive care unit at Southampton General Hospital following the incident in Poole on Friday afternoon. Her condition is described as critical but stable.

She was crossing Pinecliffe Road, near the entrance to Branksome Chine beach car park, at around 4.30pm when the collision took place on the crossing.

The cyclist left the scene, leading to Dorset Police issuing an appeal urging the cyclist to come forward.

On Saturday, a 38-year-old Bournemouth man was arrested just before 11am after presenting himself at Bournemouth police station.

He has since been released on bail until next month.

Leila’s parents, Chanine Boulton and Darren Crofts, are keeping a vigil at her bedside.

They have asked for privacy while they support their family through this difficult time, said a spokesperson for Dorset Police.

A police family liaison officer is working with the couple, who own the Ickle Angels Nursery in Carroll Avenue, Ferndown. The couple, who live in Sandbanks, also have a younger daughter.

Mr Crofts is believed to be an IT consultant and founding director for Domain Architecture Ltd, based at a Sandbanks address.

It is thought the youngster was being looked after by an au pair at the time of the accident.

One witness, who stopped to give first aid, spoke to the Chanine via mobile phone to tell her what happened.

Shocked witnesses and RNLI lifeguards rushed to help the nine-year-old girl moments after the incident on Friday.

Witnesses or anyone with information are asked to contact police on 101.

Dorset Police said on Saturday afternoon that a 38-year-old Bournemouth man was arrested at 10.58am after presenting himself at Bournemouth police station. He is currently in custody helping police with their enquiries.

On Friday evening, Inspector Matt Butler of Dorset Police had appealed for the cyclist to get in touch.

"It’s a very serious matter. It won’t go away and we do need to resolve it for the benefit of everybody concerned," he said then.

Louise Barber was driving to Whitecliff Park when she came across the accident, which happened at 2.25pm.

She told the Daily Echo: “I saw this little kid lying in the road with a lady beside her. I’ve done advanced first aid so I ran over and somebody tells me she’s been hit by a cyclist.

“The au pair couldn’t speak English too well and was asking for me to speak to the child’s mum on the phone.

“I spoke to her mum on the phone and told her I was sorry to say this,  but her daughter had been in an accident, it was awful I  said she was OK but she was unresponsive.”

Louise said some lifeguards ran to the scene to help before paramedics arrived.

“I never saw what happened to cause the accident though,” said 42-year-old Louise from Branksome.

Acting sergeant Lee Savage told the Daily Echo on Friday: "We know that a pedal cyclist coming from the direction of Canford Cliffs village towards Branksome collided with a nine-year-old crossing the road at the crossing.

"The pedal cyclist then got off his bike, picked it up and walked into the nearby gardens."

He said the girl who was being "assisted across the crossing by another person" and was being treated for life-threatening injuries at Southampton Hospital.

Officers would like to hear from anyone who saw the collision, has any information about a cyclist in the gardens, any description of the cyclist or anythin that can lead to his identity.

Witnesses of the incident or anyone who may be able to identify the cyclist are asked to call Dorset Police on 101, quoting incident number 311:26 or the free and anonymous Crimestoppers line on 0800 555111.