A Leicestershire gay man was beaten by robbers who tricked him into meeting them in a park.

The 50-year-old victim had gone to a park in Colts Close, Burbage, at about 8pm on Sunday March 14th, after agreeing to meet someone on an internet forum.

Police said that when he got to the children’s play area at the park he was approached by four men who demanded he hand over his money.

The victim was then beaten around the head and face until he told the men that he didn’t have any money on him. The four men then ran off and the victim walked to a nearby house for help and was taken to hospital.

His car was later found to have been vandalised.

Police believe the victim was targeted because of his sexual orientation and are appealing to anyone with information to come forward.

Detective Constable Pete Watson said: “It is appalling to think that this man was purposely targeted because of his sexual orientation and we want the suspects to know that it is not something that we will tolerate.

“We are determined to find those four men responsible and are appealing to the public for their help in finding and identifying them.

“Following the assault the occupants of two cars parked in the car park asked the victim if he was okay, before driving off. If you were one of the occupants and can remember speaking to the victim, who had clearly been assaulted, please contact us. We believe you could have information about the assault that could really help us in our investigation.”

He added: “It is always worth remembering that if you arrange to meet someone via an internet chat room that you should never go alone and always meet in a public place.

“We would like anyone else who may have been a victim of an incident similar to this to call us immediately.”

Anyone with any information is asked to contact DC Watson on 0116 222 2222 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.