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Police warn vigilantes after man assaulted in case of mis-identification

26 Apr 2017 15:00 PM

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Police are urging members of the public not to take the law into their own hands after a man was assaulted in a case of mis-identification.

At around 10pm on Saturday evening a 50-year-old man was assaulted in a rear lane of Manners Gardens in Seaton Deleval.

He was left with a number of nasty injuries and was taken to hospital for treatment to serious but non-life threatening injuries.

Police are carrying out enquiries into the assault but currently believe that the man was targeted as a result of mis-identification.

At the beginning of this month Northumbria Police released an image of a man they wanted to speak to about a string of indecent exposures in the Seaton Deleval area.

It is believed that the person responsible for the assault believed his victim was the man in the image.

Police can confirm that this was not the case and officers investigating the indecent exposures are following other lines of enquiry.

A 49-year-old has since been arrested in connection with the assault on Saturday evening and has been released from custody pending further police enquiries.

Now Inspector Garry Neill, from the Blyth Neighbourhood Policing Team, has warned members of the public not to take the law into their own hands.

He said that the man circulated in the image was somebody police wanted to speak to about the offence. The man was in the area at the time of one of the exposures and may have information useful to the enquiry.

Sgt Neill said: "This man has fallen victim to a serious assault and we do believe this is because somebody wrongly believed him to be a potential offender.

"In fact this man was an innocent member of the public and for him to be targeted in this way is completely unacceptable.

"Nobody should ever take the law into their own hands and if members of the public believe they have information about an incident then they should speak to us directly.

"We understand people want to protect victims of crime in their local community but it is the duty of the police to take appropriate action and the police alone."

The man circulated in the original image was somebody police wanted to speak to about an indecent exposure offence. The man was in the area at the time of one of the exposures and may have information useful to the enquiry.

Anyone with any information about the indecent exposures, and the assault on Saturday, should contact police on 101 quoting log 1197 22/04/17 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.