A GANG of youths punched and kicked a ‘vulnerable’ man in a Blackburn park before stealing his bike.

The 36-year-old victim was cycling through Witton Park when he was pushed to the ground and attacked by the gang.

The man, who has learning difficulties and has been described as vulnerable, was stopped by the youths as he tried to cross a footbridge at around 5.20pm on Sunday.

Police said the group of between six and nine Asian youths dragged the victim from his bike by his jacket before punching and kicking him while he was on the ground in the Preston Old Road park.

The attackers, who are all thought to be under 18, then stole his £300 red and black Apollo ‘Phaze’ gentleman’s mountain bike with white writing on it.

Detective Sergeant Rob Anderson from Blackburn CID urged people to be vigilant while walking through the park.

He said: “It is always a concern for us when people are victimised in public parks and this man has been left extremely upset and shaken by this incident.

"But we would like to reassure the public that there is hardly any crime in Witton Park and we will ensure that we work hard to ensure that no patterns develop in the area.

“Although there is no need for the public to be afraid, we would urge them to be extra vigilant whilst walking through the park with valuable items in their possession.”

Anyone with information should call Blackburn police on 08451 25 3545 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at Crimestoppers-uk.org