A MAN lost part of his finger after a savage attack by three men, one armed with a claw hammer.

Vernon Walker, aged 55, had his right index finger severed during the unprovoked assult on himself and his brother Keith near the underpass in Loxham Street, Moses Gate.

He had put his hand up to protect his skull as one of the men aimed a blow to the back of his head with the hammer.

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The top of his finger was severed and later surgically removed at the Royal Bolton Hospital, where he was also given three stitches for his head wound.

But Det Cons Ged Earley, of Bolton CID, said his finger had cushioned what might otherwise have been a fatal blow to the head.

He was also struck on his shoulder and his brother, aged 59, was hit on the top of his back where he suffered bruising and swelling.

The pair were taken to hospital after the attack at 10.45pm last night but were discharged at 9.30am this morning.

They had caught a bus back to Farnworth town centre after a night out at the Borough Social Club in Pendlebury, and had been walking back to their house in Loxham Street.

DC Earley said: “They heard some shouting behind them but tried to ignore it and kept walking towards their house.

“They did not even see the men but then they have come up behind them and carried out this unbelievably vicious attack.

“It all happened in probably about five seconds.

“I can’t understand why they have done something like this and the two brothers cannot think of any reasons why this has happened.

“They did not know the men and there is no suggestion this was a robbery.”

Police cordoned off the road at its junction with Bolton Road while forensics teams scoured the scene for DNA samples and searched the area for the hammer in case it had been thrown away.

Detectives are also examining footage from a Bolton Council CCTV camera at the junction of Bolton Road and Loxham Street.

The offenders are believed to have been stood with a group of men on Penydarren View before the assult and DC Earley is appealing for anyone who saw them or witnessed the incident to come forward.

Two of the men are thought to be Asian, with one wearing a white top and the other a green top. The other man was said to be white and was wearing a white top.

All three are described as being aged between 17 and 21.

Hannah Chaudary, aged 21, who lives near the two brothers, said: “It’s such a shame what’s happened.

“I have known them since I was brought up here and they have never had a problem with anyone, they were very nice.

“It’s a big shock and feels like something has happened to a family member. You don’t know what’s round the corner and it makes me afraid to go out.”

Liam Killgaft, a barman at the Borough Social Club, said: “They have been coming here for years, I think maybe they used to live out this way.

“We read about it on teletext – I have no idea why anyone would do this, they wouldn’t harm a fly.

“They are top lads and we have a good laugh with them.”

Farnworth councillor Noel Spencer said the incident was “the last thing the area needed”, coming just three weeks after 16-year-old Andy Holland was stabbed to death outside Ashy’s chip shop in Plodder Lane.

Cllr Spencer said: “I’m absolutely devastated to hear about this, it is a diabolical assault.

“The police are doing a wonderful job but I really think there’s a problem in the area, there have been problems with drug dealing and we have had a number of Anti Social Behaviour Orders.

“We need to remove these people from the streets and we need stiffer sentences because its getting out of hand.”

Anyone with information on the incident should contact Bolton CID on 0161 856 5740 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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