A 27-year-old man had to be treated in hospital for a fractured jaw after being punched in a homophobic attack in Bootle, Merseyside.

Police are appealing for witnesses to the incident, which happened on Marsh Lane on June 21st.

The victim was standing outside Throughgoods General Store with three friends when a group of seven men, who were drinking alcohol, began verbally abusing him.

One of the men then punched him in the face.

Police have CCTV images of three of the men and have described the main offender as white, 5ft 8in tall and aged 16 or 17. He had short dark hair with a metal ‘train track’ brace on his teeth.

DC Peter Tynan, from the Sigma Hate Crime Unit, said: “The force is committed to making Merseyside a safe place for all regardless of ethnic origin, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief and to the belief that everyone has the right to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect.

“Those who carry out hate crimes targeting people because of their difference should be left in no doubt that their behaviour will not be tolerated and that robust action will be taken to ensure they are arrested and prosecuted for their actions.

“We ask anyone with any information about this unprovoked attack to come forward so we can bring the offenders to justice.”