A gay man in his fifties was the victim of a homophobic attack in Ilford, east London, on Saturday.

Two 18-year old men have been arrested on suspicion of assault and are being held in custody.

Police were called at 11:10am to a public toilet in Chapel Road, Ilford by a member of the public and found the man nearby with head injuries.

He was taken to hospital in what was thought to be a life-threatening condition but has now been discharged to recover from his injuries at home.

Police are treating the incident as a homophobic attack and believe the man was assaulted around half an hour before they arrived.

They are appealing for anyone who might have witnessed the incident or seen anyone acting suspiciously around the Chapel Road area to come forward.

Anyone with information is being asked to call officers on 0208 358 0400 or to remain anonymous Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111

Latest Metropolitan Police figures show the number of reported crimes has risen by 18 per cent since last October and there have been a number of murders of gay men in the last year.

Last month, 62-year-old Ian Baynham died after being beaten by teenagers in a homophobic attack in Trafalgar Square.

In July, Edward Highwood, 79, was found murdered at his home in Greenwich.

Gerry Edwards, 59, was stabbed to death at his home in Bromley in March, while his partner suffered serious stab wounds.

In November last year, David Cooper was beaten to death at his home in Woolwich.

Last week, PinkNews.co.uk revealed that the Met has been accused of watering down LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans) liaison officers in London at a time of increased reports of homophobic hate crime.

Southwark, a London borough with a high proportion of gay people, now no longer has a full time LGBT liaison officer.

London mayor Boris Johnson has met with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner to ensure that everything is being done to tackle the problem of homophobic attacks in the capital.