A group of youths reportedly dropped a lit firework into a homeless man’s pocket during Bonfire Night celebrations in Liverpool.
Police are investigating the incident, believed to have taken place in the Lime Street area of the city centre, after images on social media appeared to show the man with red marks on his skin and burnt clothing.
According to Andy Shute, who volunteers for the Paper Cup homeless project, the victim was a former Army serviceman.
He said after the youths walked off, the man could smell burning and saw his jacket was alight.
“In the worst case we could be looking at a guy having his leg amputated today,” he added.
“He said he had dealt with flash bangs in the army and his leg would have been a lot worse were his wallet not in the way. It’s appalling what people do to get their kicks.”
Images posted to social media show the burn marks left in the man’s clothing and also a burn to his leg.
Merseyside Police said they have not located the homeless man so far, but enquiries are ongoing.
Chief Inspector Paddy Kelly said: “This appears to be a shocking incident and currently our main priority is to locate the victim and ensure he is safe and well.
“We are carrying out thorough witness and CCTV inquiries in Lime Street and the surrounding areas and I would urge anyone with information to please come forward.
“To misuse fireworks is highly irresponsible behaviour which will not be tolerated, and we are determined to locate the offenders and put them before the courts.”
In a separate incident, a short distance away, fire crews escaped unharmed after a man shot a missile in their direction, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service said.
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