A teenage boy was taken to hospital with serious injuries after being stabbed by two men in a horror incident in a park.
Police are urgently appealing for witnesses after the appalling attack at the King George V playing fields in Haydock.
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The 16-year-old victim was at the Church Road green space at around 9pm on Wednesday when two young men, who are thought to also be teenagers, approached him and demanded he hand over his bike.
They then both brandished blades and attacked him, plunging the knives into the victim's back and shoulder.
The teenager was taken to hospital and his injuries are described as serious but not life-threatening.
The offenders fled in the direction of Grange Valley.
The assault took place in the park area of the playing fields, opposite the Tesco supermarket.
Detective Chief Inspector John Williams from Merseyside Police said: "This was an appalling incident during which an innocent boy was targeted and has now been left seriously injured and shaken. We are carrying out extensive enquiries to ensure those responsible are found and brought to justice.
“We know that prior to the incident there were a number of youths in the park area from around 7.30pm onwards, and I would urge anyone who may have witnessed the assault, events leading up to it or knows the identity of the offenders to please come forward.
“The reckless actions of these individuals could’ve had fatal consequences and knife crime will simply not be tolerated by Merseyside Police.
"I appeal to anyone who has any information in relation to this incident, or CCTV or dashcam footage from the area surrounding King Georges Park and the playing field, Church Road, Clipsley Lane or Grange Valley to please to contact police.”
The first offender is described as a black male, 5ft 10in tall of athletic build with short dark hair with dreadlocks at the front. He was wearing a black thigh-length coat, black combat-style pants and black trainers and spoke with a local accent.
The second offender is described as a white male of slim build with dark short hair. He wore a dark jacket with white stripes down the sleeves and dark pants.
Both are thought to be around 16 to 18 years old.
Forensic examination of the scene is now taking place and officers are also speaking to witnesses and trying to locate CCTV footage covering the area.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Merseyside Police on 101,quoting incident reference 19100469217, or call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111.