A PCSO was viciously attacked by a knifeman after being called to the scene of a fight in woodland.

The shocking assault happened shortly before 5pm yesterday, Thursday when the police community support officer was on routine patrol in Palacefields, Runcorn.

As the officer approached three men who appeared to be fighting he was attacked from behind by an unknown man who tried stab him in the face with a knife.

The PCSO managed to fight off his attacker and all the men fled the scene in the direction of Sparrowhawk Close.

The officer was treated in Halton Hospital for slash wounds to his hands and face.

Members of the public have come forward with information following the incident.

Detectives today renewed their appeal for witnesses.

They are particularly keen to talk to a member of the public who spoke to the PCSO shortly before he was attacked in Runcorn.

He may have vital information that could help officers with their enquiries.

Chief Inspector Sarah Heath, who is in charge of policing in Runcorn, said: “We know there are people out there who must know something which could help with our investigation and I would urge them to get in touch.

"I cannot stress enough how much we need the assistance of the local community to help us find out who did this to one of our officers.

“This was a terrifying ordeal which has left him badly shaken. Thankfully, our officer has been extremely lucky in that he didn’t receive more serious injuries but this could have been far worse.

“He is currently being supported by the force and his family.”

The PCSO was approached by a man wearing dark clothing who alerted him to an incident in a wooded area between Sparrowhawk Close and Cunliffe Close.

The officer went into the wood and became aware of a group of three men who appeared to be fighting. 

As the officer walked towards the group he was attacked from behind by an unknown man who attempted to stab him in the face with a knife.

The attacker, along with the men involved in the fight, are all described as being white men wearing dark clothing.

One of the suspects was also described as wearing a grey tracksuit.

Two of the men are described as white, between 5ft 8ins and 5ft 10ins tall, of stocky build.

The other man is around 5ft 9ins tall, of skinny build and had a strong Liverpool accent.

CI Heath added: “PCSOs are an important port of the policing family and are very well respected within the local community.

“They enable the force to develop a greater connection with local people and help to build public confidence in policing by providing a familiar face as a point of contact.

“Without a shadow of doubt an attack on a PCSO is an attack on the local community itself - no officer should be a victim of crime through simply carrying out their day-to-day work. “

Enquiries are ongoing in the local area and high visibility patrols will continue to provide reassurance to the community.

Detectives are urging a member of the public who spoke to the PCSO before the attack to get in touch.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Cheshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 668 of 23/11/2017.

Information can also be passed anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.