Pensioner punched in unprovoked attack

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AN 80-year-old who suffers from breathing difficulties was punched in the stomach in an unprovoked attack.

It happened as the pensioner, who has pulmonary arthritis, was walking home from the shops and stopped to catch his breath on Laburnum Avenue in Leigh at around 6.35pm on Sunday.

As he was leaning on a fencepost resting, he was confronted by an unknown man on a pedal cycle who, without provocation, punched the pensioner in the stomach and shouted an obscenity at him.

The offender rode off down Willow Crescent and made no attempt to steal anything from the pensioner.

He is described as being white, 19 or 20-years-old and wearing a big black jacket and dark coloured trousers. The bicycle was described as being of a BMX-style.

The victim was not seriously injured but was left badly shaken up as a result of his ordeal.

PC Paul Hesketh said: “This was an utterly bizarre and completely unprovoked attack on a vulnerable member of our community.

“He was simply trying to get his breath back having walked back from the local shops, and for no reason whatsoever was punched and sworn at by a young man who had absolutely no cause to stoop to such a callous act.

“Thankfully the victim is not seriously injured although you can imagine his distress at being targeted in this violent way.

“I know members of our community are extremely upset and appalled by this attack, and I would urge people to use that sense of injustice and outrage to help us find the culprit.

“This individual probably lives in the local area so I would encourage anyone who knows who the offender is, or has any information about this shameful attack, to come forward. I would also implore who is in the inner circle of friends or family of this offender to do the right thing and come forward with what they know.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 0161 856 7112 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.