Police in Liverpool are investigating an attack on a homeless man, who was targeted by a group of youths who allegedly placed a lit firework in his pocket.
Images on social media appear to show his burnt clothing and red marks on his skin following the incident at around 8.20pm on Lime Street, Liverpool city centre.
Andy Shute, who volunteers for the Paper Cup homeless project in Liverpool, said the victim was a former Army serviceman who said he was targeted by four teenagers.
He told the Press Association: “In the worst case we could be looking at a guy having his leg amputated today.
“As they walked past him one of them said ‘have a sparking good night mate’, and after that he could smell burning and see his jacket was alight.
“He said he had dealt with flash bangs in the army and his leg would’ve been a lot worse were his wallet not in the way.
“It’s appalling what people are prepared to do to get their kicks.”
Merseyside Police are now investigating the incident and urgently trying to locate the victim.
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.”