A vicious slash attack has left a Blackpool woman afraid to go out in her home town.
Health care worker Claire Garrett was on a night out when she was attacked from behind and cut just above the eye.
The 38-year-old was left bleeding in the street after the “random” attack and now fears she may be scarred for life after needing seven stitches above her right eye.
Her wounds were so serious she said she had to be rushed to A&E in a police vehicle rather than wait for an ambulance to arrive.
Claire, of North Shore, said: “The fact something like that can happen completely out of the blue when you are just minding your own business is very worrying - the randomness of what happened is frightening.
“As I was crossing the road, whoever did this came from behind me and I realised I had been slashed.
“It was definitely a sharp object, but I don’t know what - I could feel the blood on my face.
“I think I might have blacked out briefly but then remembered people coming to help me and me being ferried up the hospital for treatment.
“It’s scary to think people carry such things around and can use them like they did on me.”
She had left the Kaos bar, on Queen Street, where she spent the night with friends and was walking alone to get a taxi when the unknown assailant attacked her from behind.
She has now spoken out about her ordeal as new figures show knife crime convictions in Lancashire are at their highest level since 2012 and following a string of high profile incidents across the UK.
And just yesterday, a man was seriously hurt in a double stabbing on Dickson Road – just yards from where Claire was assaulted in the early hours of February 21.
READ MORE: Man suffers serious facial injuries in double stabbing
Claire told The Gazette how she was forced to take time off work after the attack, which has left her with lasting scars – both emotionally and physically.
She said: “I never used to think twice about (going out) - but I will do from now on.
“I had been enjoying a night out with friends when I decided to take a taxi home.
“Everybody at work has been great but I am still very conscious of the scar and it certainly has made me think twice about going out at night in the future.”
Police confirmed they are still investigating the attack on Claire. No arrests have been made.
Meanwhile an investigation is now under way into the incident on Dickson Road yesterday.
And in the wake of a number of knife-related offences in the county recently – including the stabbing of a 13-year-old boy in Blackpool last month and a knife attack at Runshaw college in Leyland last week – Lancashire Police has launched an operation to tackle the growing problem.
Several forces across the UK are taking part in Operation Sceptre, a week of action to take blades off the streets, which ends today.
However, Lancashire Police today said its efforts to stem the tide of knife crime will continue over the longer term.
Chief Supt Neil Ashton, joint head of crime at Lancashire Police, said: “Too many families have been affected by knife crime and just one person being stabbed is one too many. The consequences of carrying and using a knife can be devastating and potentially life-threatening.
“We take all reports of offences involving a knife extremely seriously and we will continue to use all the powers at our disposal – such as Section 60 orders – in areas where we identify there is an issue.
“We are committed to keeping our communities safe and tackling violent crime is a priority for us. We will continue to work 24/7 and 365 days of the year and to act on intelligence.
“We regularly take part in weeks of action such as Operation Sceptre but this is not just a police issue and we work closely with partners to try to educate people on the dangers of carrying a knife as it could have tragic consequences.
“Anyone who is found carrying a knife and is intending to use it as a weapon – even in self-defence can be arrested, go to court and receive a police record or even a prison sentence of up to four years and an unlimited fine.”
Knife bins have been in use this week at Blackpool and Fleetwood among a number of county police stations, while officers have been carrying out test purchase operations to ensure retailers are not selling knives to under-18s.
Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Sadly, up and down the country we are seeing the tragic impact on people’s lives as a consequence of knives being used.
“Campaigns such as this that actually remove knives from our streets play an important role in reducing crime and reoffending.
“Knives are deadly weapons and you will be arrested and prosecuted if you are caught carrying one.
“If you own a dangerous knife I’d urge you to protect both yourself and those around you by handing it in safely and anonymously.”