A makeshift “flamethrower” was used in a terrifying attack on a teenager by a man who threatened to hit him if he did not hand over a cigarette.
The 16-year-old boy’s face was set alight using an aerosol can and a lighter as he was walking home from a friend’s house on Saturday night.
Luckily the victim only suffered minor injuries but the intent was there to cause some serious harm.
A man reportedly approached a group of three youths on Johnson Road, Marton, before singling out the victim and saying: “Give me a fag in five seconds or I’ll hit you.”
Detectives say he then started to count down from five before producing the improvised weapon and attacking the teen.
Several neighbours today told The Gazette they had been shocked to learn of the horrific attack just outside their homes – although none had witnessed it themselves.
Det Sgt Kathryn Riley, of Blackpool CID, said: “A group of youths have been approached by a male who has assaulted one of them and used an aerosol and lighter to make a custom-made flamethrower.
“Luckily the victim only suffered minor injuries but the intent was there to cause some serious harm.”
Police say the attacker had been kicking on the doors of homes on the street before he approached the three young people.
The victim, who was treated at hospital for burns to his face, told police he was making his way home from a friend’s house when the attack took place, at around 11.50pm on Saturday.
According to police who spoke to the teen, the offender started speaking to the victim and claimed to know one of his friends.
However he quickly turned aggressive, threatening violence if the teen did not hand over a cigarette in five seconds.
Det Sgt Riley said: “He demanded a cigarette and then started a countdown.
“We believe the offender had been kicking at doors along Johnson Road at the time.
“We are keen to speak to anyone who was in the area who saw anything. There would have been four people on the street – the victim, two witnesses and the offender.”
Police arrested a man on suspicion of attempted wounding over the weekend.
The 24-year-old, from Blackpool, denied the offence when quizzed by police yesterday and was last night released on police bail.
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101.