A man needed skin grafts after being burnt in a terrifying homophobic attack.
The 20-year-old victim was walking through the grounds of Holy Trinity Church on Yarm Lane, Stockton, in an area known locally as ‘The Chuggy’ when a group of four men confronted him and began questioning him about his sexual orientation.
A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: "He ignored them and continued onto Parliament Street. One of the men then approached him from behind and sprayed an aerosol can at the victims legs which he then set alight, causing burns to the victim’s calves."
The men then made off towards Yarm Lane after the attack at around 3am today.
The man who lit the aerosol is described as white, in his early 20s, of medium build and with short blonde hair. He was bare chested and wearing jogging bottoms.
The victim attended North Tees University Hospital where he received treatment to his burns, which were serious and required skin grafts
The spokeswoman added: "Officers are treating this as a homophobic hate crime and are asking anyone with information to come forward and call police on 101."