Two men have been left injured - one seriously - after they were targeted in a homophobic attack in Liverpool.
The men, both in their 30s, were approached by three youths as they walked down Manningham Road in the Anfield area of the city on Saturday night.
The youths made homophobic insults towards them before one of them produced a knife and assaulted the men.
One of the victims suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries to his head and neck while the second sustained a minor hand injury.
Both men have been taken to hospital for treatment, Merseyside Police said, and were left incredibly shaken.
The offenders are described as male and aged between 12 and 15 - one was wearing a dark bubble coat and one riding a bike.
Police have launched an investigation into the incident and are carrying out inquiries in the area.
Detective Inspector Tara Denn, from Merseyside Police, said: "This was an appalling and unprovoked attack on two men simply making their way home and we are working tirelessly to locate those responsible.
She said: "Two men have been left with significant injuries tonight and the hate and violence that has been inflicted on them is simply unacceptable and won't be tolerated on the streets of Merseyside.”
We're appealing for info following a homophobic assault in Manningham Rd, #Anfield around 9.20pm last night, Sat 22 June. Two men were injured after being assaulted by youths armed with a knife. Please contact @MerPolCC, 101 or @CrimestoppersUK with info— Merseyside Police (@MerseyPolice) June 23, 2019
Det Insp Denn urged any witnesses to come forward, or anyone who may have CCTV or dashcam footage or knows the person responsible.
She added: "There is absolutely no place for hate crime in society and we know how much of a massive impact it has on victims.
“I want to reach out to the LBGT community, who I know will be deeply saddened by this news, and reassure you that we stand with you and if you report such incidents to the police, we will do our utmost to support and protect you and bring those responsible to justice.
"We are passionate about maintaining the right of all our communities to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect, and by working closely with our partners will continue to work to eradicate hate crime of all forms.
"Victims can report directly to the police where experienced hate crime officers will treat them with sensitivity and compassion, or via third party reporting centres in fire stations, citizen advice bureaus and hospitals where the information will be passed on."