A HOMELESS man was subjected to a 'cowardly and unprovoked' attack in Blackburn town centre.

The incident took place on January 5 at 8.20pm to reports of an assault on Astley Gate.

The victim was sat in a sleeping bag under the bike sheds when he was approached by two men.

He was kicked and punched in the face repeatedly.

One man was been arrested in connection with the investigation.

The 26-year-old from Blackburn was arrested on suspicion of Section 47 Assault and Affray and has since been released under investigation pending further enquiries.

Meanwhile, community leaders are shocked about the news.

Community Spirit is an award winning voluntary group of local people set up to help feed the homeless and hungry, and chaired by 26-year-old Blackburn man, Neil Mistry.

Neil helped to set up Community Spirit after seeing local people who were street homeless and hungry.

Debbie Miller, trustee at Blackburn group, Community Spirit said: “This is a despicable attack on a defenceless man, who by the nature of being street homeless makes him more vulnerable.

"I hope anyone who witnessed the attack gets in touch with the police and the perpetrator is found and dealt with.”

Kate Hollern, Blackburn MP, said: "I was horrified to hear that a homeless person has been treated in this way.

"I would urge anyone who knows anything about the incident to get in touch with the police.

"Homelessness levels across the country are at record levels and winter is a hard time of year to survive as it is.

"No-one deserves to be treated in such a disgraceful way."

PC Kaz Garda of Blackburn Police, said: “This was a cowardly, unprovoked attack on a homeless man. We need anyone who witnessed the assault or can help in any way, to get in touch as soon as possible.

“We’re particularly keen to identify the man in the photos. If you recognise him, please let us know.”

Police released an image of the man they want to speak to in connection with the offence.

Anyone with information is urged to call 101 quoting log number 1195 of January 5.

Alternatively, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555111.