THE gang which beat four men with a cricket bat in a revenge attack may have targeted the wrong people, police said.

Officers also slammed the 'outlandish thuggery' involved in the three incidents on Saturday which have rocked Little Harwood.

Police have now stepped up patrols in the community in a bid to maintain peace following the clashes between white and Asian men.

Sergeant John Rigby said an Asian man was attacked just minutes before four white men were attacked in Whalley Old Road in the early hours of Saturday.

Several cars were then damaged in the aftermath of the incidents.

One of the men injured in the second incident, landscape gardener Nikki Foster, 25, suffered a fractured cheekbone after being hit in the face with a cricket bat.

His brother Darren Kenyon, 31, suffered two broken hands and was repeatedly struck in the head. Another brother, Anthony Kenyon, 25, and friend Simon Rennie, were also hurt.

Police said Darren Kenyon had been interviewed on suspicion of affray but had not been charged.

Sgt Rigby said the attacks were "outlandish thuggery" but stressed he believed they were isolated and involved only young men from the local area.

He said: "The nature of the injuries to the four young men are serious to say the least.

"With these attacks the Asian men may have been motivated to seek retribution but it is possible that they have got the wrong people.

"We need to determine exactly what happened and we need the help of the community."

Mr Foster, who lives off Laburnum Road, said the attack came 'out of the blue'.

He said: "We were just walking home after a night out and they attacked us. We hadn't done anything wrong.

"I tried to protect my brother but when they hit me across the face I just don't remember a thing.

"I think I was knocked out. I still can't believe what happened."

The Asian victim of the first attack has not come forward to the police.

During the weekend Neighbourhood Policing Teams have been to the area conducting house-to-house community reassurance measures.

Officers are also looking at CCTV footage from the area.

Sergeant Colin Dassow said: “These incidents are being treated very seriously by Blackburn CID.

“We are appealing for any witnesses to come forward, or anyone who has CCTV footage, to supply it to us.

“It would have been very noisy at the time and it would have been noticeable that people were carrying weapons.”

Contact the police on 01254 51212 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.