A 15-year-old who was stabbed close to Blackburn Cathedral was also robbed, police say. 

A 17-year-old from Blackburn was arrested in connection with the stabbing which happened at around 5pm on Thursday. 

He has been released on bail pending further enquiries. 

Police are urging people with information to come forward after the 15-year-old was slashed to the chest.

He suffered a two-inch wound and had to have stiches before being released from Royal Blackburn Hospital

A Lancashire Police spokesman said the boy was approached by a group of men who spoke to him and took his mobile phone. 

He said: "One of the group, believed to have the nicknames 'Nutty' and 'Shaq', demanded the boy’s cigarette and produced a knife.

"The teen was slashed to the chest leaving him with a two inch wound.

"Following the assault the offender walked off towards Morrisons with the victim’s mobile phone." 

DS Melissa Kelly, of Blackburn CID, said: “This was a serious assault on a boy aged just 15 who had to have stitches to his chest at hospital." 

Eyewitnesses said around 12 to 15 officers were seen in Morrisons car park in Blackburn town centre apparently searching for the suspected assailant.

They later left with the suspect who is believed to have been hiding between cars.

Police said the suspect was detained on suspicion of wounding with intent. 

Police and crime scene investigators swooped on the Cathedral Quarter as a cordon was placed around the front of the cathedral to Dandy Way next to the new Premier Inn hotel.

The incident occurred in alleyway near the Premier Inn at the heart of the town’s £34million development just hours after the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, launched the county’s Crossroads Mission.

A passer-by said they were shocked to see an incident so close to the Cathedral.

One said: “It is shocking this is happening in Blackburn centre. But unfortunately we are seeing more and more of these incidents all over.”

Another said: “I was really shocked to see the police cordon, especially so close to the cathedral. It is not what you want to see though as it’s not very good for Blackburn.”

Cllr Hussain Akhtar, the Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen, said: “I am shocked. It is a most regrettable incident and not what we want in our new town centre.

“The history of Blackburn is that it is a welcoming and friendly place and we do not want this type of incident in the town centre when we have spent so much money on redeveloping it.”

Shear Brown Councillor Suleman Khonat said: “This absolutely shocking.

“I am very disturbed that this could happen on in the Cathedral Quarter especially during the day.

“This is not the sort of thing we want happening in our redeveloped town centre.”

Bishop of Burnley and Dean of Blackburn, Rt Rev Philip North said: “This is awful.

“It such a dreadful contrast to the loving and joyful service we had in the cathedral only hours earlier.

“Dandy Walk is only yards away from where the service took place.

“This incident is a dreadful example of why the message of love and community of the Crossroads Mission is so important.

“We shall pray in the cathedral for this poor young man and his family.”

Anyone with information is urged to call police on 101 quoting crime number ED1613728.

Alternatively Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555111 or online at Crimestoppers-uk.org.