A teenage girl was today recovering following four hours of plastic surgery after being slashed across the face in an horrific brawl.
The vicious knife attack left the 16-year-old needing around 30 stitches for the facial wound, which stretched from her forehead to her cheek – narrowly missing her eye.
And despite surgery, carried out just hours after the attack at Royal Preston Hospital, medics fear she will be scarred for life.
Police were called to reports a group of around 10 people fighting with weapons outside Layton Tanning Centre, on Layton Road, where they found the girl with the “horrific” cut to her face.
Witnesses reported seeing one of the thugs armed with a baseball bat during the fracas at around 7.40pm on Tuesday.
It is understood the injured schoolgirl had tried to intervene to protect a friend.
Her injuries were so severe police rushed the girl to hospital themselves rather than wait for an ambulance .
Det Sgt Simon Pritchard, of Blackpool CID, said: “It was horrific – that is going to be a life-changing injury.”
The Gazette understands the girl was taken to Royal Preston Hospital where she underwent plastic surgery in the early hours of Wednesday.
Four people have since been questioned by police over the incident.
Det Con Ian Massey, of Blackpool CID, said: “At around 7.30pm on Tuesday, a large scale public order incident occurred on Layton Road close to the junction with Drummond Avenue involving a number of both males and females.
“During this incident, a 16-year-old female has received significant facial injuries.
“It was a pretty horrible cut – from her forehead, right across her eyebrow and to her cheek. As a result of the incident, a number of people were arrested and are currently on police bail.”
He said several people are believed to have witnessed the brawl and urged them to come forward.
A police spokesman said another man had suffered a cut to his arm which was “less serious”.
He added: “We were called at 7.40pm to an altercation outside Layton Tanning Centre where a group of around 10 people were reported to be fighting.
“The girl was found with significant injuries to her face. Another male had a cut on his arm. One witness said someone involved may have had a baseball bat.
“We arrested four people who have since been released on bail.”
News of the brutal attack has today sent shockwaves through the area, with one trader describing her “shock” at the level of violence used.
Cath Hurley, of Ragamuffin on Westcliffe Drive, who is a member of Layton Traders Association, said: “Layton is a real community area with a thriving shopping district with no shops boarded up so for something like this to happen is a real shock.
“In recent years we have all worked together with the council and the police to put Layton back on the map.
“We don’t want something like this to give us a bad name.
Coun Martin Mitchell, who represents Layton on Blackpool Council, said: “Layton is a very peaceful area so I am quite taken aback by this.”
A 33-year-old man, 16-year-old girl and 49-year-old woman, all from Poulton, and a 16-year-old boy from Blackpool were all arrested on suspicion of wounding with intent.
All have been bailed until April 24. Anyone with information should call police on 101.