A man was stabbed in Camden on Monday by a knifeman who asked if he was gay, police have said.

The 36-year-old, who had spent the evening in the Black Cap pub, was walking by Camden Lock Bridge with two friends at around 2.15am on Monday morning.

Police say he was approached by four men. One asked him “Are you gay?” and walked off when he was ignored.

Minutes later, he returned and stabbed the victim in the chest and leg.

The victim was taken to hospital and is said to be in a stable condition.

Police are treating the attack as homophobic and say patrols have been stepped up in the area.

Detective Inspector Les Newman, who is leading the investigation, said: “This was a cowardly and unprovoked attack on three innocent males making their way home.

“This is being treated as a homophobic incident, and the investigation team is working closely with the local community to identify those responsible.

“We urge anyone who was in the area and may have seen something to contact Camden police on 020 8733 6474 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

The suspects are described as four black men aged between 20 and 25. No arrests have been made.

In January, 18-year-old Ruby Thomas and 20-year-old Joel Alexander were jailed for seven and six years respectively for killing 62-year-old gay man Ian Baynham as he walked through Trafalgar Square in 2009.

Last month, new figures showed that reported anti-gay hate incidents in London have risen by 28 per cent in the last four years.

LGBT people who wish to speak to police or report a crime can contact an LGBT liaison office on 0800 328 2509 or the Camden LGBT Forum on 020 7470 8760.