Police are treating a violent unprovoked assault on a teenager in Preston as a homophobic crime.

18-year-old Richard Kennedy was set upon as he left the Evoke nightclub, after an LGBT-friendly night, during the early hours of Wednesday 26 February.

“I heard a group of men shouting homophobic abuse at me,” he told RadioWave FM.

“The next thing I know I woke up covered in blood, I had lost my teeth, blood all down my arms and I was stumbling across Preston trying to find my friends.”

The teenager has published images of his injuries and says he will require surgery on several of his teeth, which have been pushed inside his gums.

Richard wants other young people to make sure they don’t travel home alone after a night out – like he did.

Detective Sergeant Martin Pearson said: “This was a particularly nasty assault, aggravated by the homophobic comments which were made before Richard was attacked.

“Whilst we are keeping an open mind, we do believe he may have been targeted because he is gay.

“It is completely unacceptable in any society for someone to suffer this type of attack motivated by prejudice.

“We need to establish exactly what happened to this young man and ensure that nobody else suffers in the same way.

“We know Richard left the Evoque nightclub on Church Street sometime after 1am and was found by friends in the Ringway area around 4am.”

Anybody with any information can contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at Crimestoppers-uk.org.