A man needed surgery after he was the victim of what police described as a ‘prolonged attack’ by a group of youths in the early hours.
The 20-year-old victim, who was discovered afterwards by a member of the public, suffered serious injuries to his head and face.
He is said to have been set upon by a group of youths in the Stranton area of Hartlepool early on Saturday after being verbally abused and followed through nearby streets.
Residents in the area spoke of their shock yesterday.
Police have arrested a 17-year-old male and 21-year-old man in connection with the incident and released pending further inquiries.
A Cleveland Police spokesman said: “We are appealing for information on an alleged prolonged assault which is reported to have taken place in the area known locally as the bull ring, opposite Stranton Social Club in Hartlepool.
“A 20 year old man has reported he was followed and verbally abused as he walked from near the One Life Centre at around 2am on Saturday, July 1, then assaulted in the bull ring which comprises Stockton Road, Elwick Road and Waldon Street.
“He was discovered by a concerned member of the public, who alerted police. The alleged victim underwent surgery for serious head and facial injuries at James Cook University Hospital and he remains in hospital recovering.”
One local resident, who did not wish to be named told how she became aware something had happened shortly after the alleged attack.
She said: “The police cordoned off the area for forensic evidence and did door to door inquiries at 6.30am on Saturday morning and spoke to us all.
“I think it’s atrocious what happened. Of course it concerns me.”
Rachel Wilson, 45, a company director, said: “I didn’t see or hear anything as I was asleep.
“It is horrible. I hope the injured person recovers soon. It is just very sad.
“It is a quiet and peaceful area.”
Pensioner William Kitching said: “I didn’t see anything. The helicopter was up and I thought ‘what’s going on?’
“We normally don’t get any real trouble here. It is fairly quiet.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact PC Philip Lamb of Hartlepool Volume Crime Team on the 101 number or Crimestoppers at www.crimestoppers-uk.org or by phoning 0800 555111.