Two women have been subjected to a homophobic attack in Sunderland by a gang of youths.

A group of about 20 approached one of the women in a chip shop on Burden Lane and several youths kicked and punched her while shouting abuse.

When her partner came to the woman’s assistance she suffered the same physical and verbal abuse, police said.

Both of the victims were in their twenties.

Sunderland Superintendent Jim Napier, from Northumbria Police, said: “This must have been a frightening incident for these two victims and I would urge anyone who witnessed it or who has any information about it to contact police.

“Hate crime of any nature is not acceptable. Those who target or commit crimes against people because of their faith, race or sexual orientation, sexual identity or disability will not be tolerated in our communities.

“We take any allegations of hate crimes very seriously and are working to bring the offenders to justice.”

Anyone with information about this attack is asked to contact police in Sunderland on the 101 non-emergency number, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.