Two men have been targeted in a homophobic attack in Liverpool which has left one of them with serious injuries.
The men, both in their 30s, were walking down Manningham Road in the Anfield area at 9.20pm on Saturday when they were approached by three male youths, Merseyside Police said.
The youths made homophobic insults towards them before one of them produced a knife and assaulted the men.
One of the victims sustained injuries to his head and neck described as serious but non-life threatening while the second sustained a minor hand injury.
They have both been taken to hospital for treatment and were left incredibly shaken by the incident.
The offenders are described as between 12 and 15, with one wearing a dark bubble coat and one riding a bike.
A scene remains in place on Manningham Road and extensive enquiries are ongoing in the area. Detectives are urging any witnesses to come forward.
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Detective Inspector Tara Denn said: “This was an appalling and unprovoked attack on two men simply making their way home and we are working tirelessly to locate those responsible.
“Two men have been left with significant injuries tonight and the hate and violence that has been inflicted on them is simply unacceptable and won’t be tolerated on the streets of Merseyside.
“I would ask anyone in Manningham Road or the surrounding areas this evening to please come forward with any information.
“You may have witnessed the incident or youths making off from the scene, or even have CCTV or dashcam footage, and I would urge you to please get in touch with police.
“Likewise, if you know who is responsible for this crime, please do the right thing and let us know.
“There is absolutely no place for hate crime in society and we know how much of a massive impact it has on victims. I want to reach out to the LBGT community, who I know will be deeply saddened by this news, and reassure you that we stand with you and if you report such incidents to the police, we will do our utmost to support and protect you and bring those responsible to justice.
“We are passionate about maintaining the right of all our communities to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect, and by working closely with our partners will continue to work to eradicate hate crime of all forms.
“Victims can report directly to the police where experienced hate crime officers will treat them with sensitivity and compassion, or via third party reporting centres in fire stations, citizen advice bureaus and hospitals where the information will be passed on.”