A ST Helens man was left suffering from knife wounds to his face and hands after he was assaulted by a gang of youths during a trip to the shops.
Police say the victim, 59, of Eccleston Park, was approached by three youths at about 5.25pm on November 15 after he left the Co-op store on Prescot Road.
Then, as he passed an alleyway near to the Grapes pub and PSD Vehicle Hire, one or more of the gang assaulted him, with what detectives believe was a knife.
The offenders then ran off and the victim went back into the shop where staff immediately called an ambulance.
Paramedics took him to Whiston Hospital, where his injuries were treated with paper stitches.
Nothing was stolen during the assault and detectives believe the attack was sparked after the victim refused to give a cigarette to a group of three youths he had walked passed on his way into the shop.
Detective Constable Jim Starkey, of St Helens CID, said: “This was a nasty and unprovoked attack against a man who was simply going to the local shops for some groceries.
“We believe that he may have been assaulted by the same group who he had refused to give a cigarette or cash to. Thankfully his injuries were not as serious as they could have been and he was helped by staff in the Co-op who called an ambulance and the police.”
Anyone with information is asked to call DC Starkey on 0151 777 6881.