A MAN was stabbed in the back by a gang of thugs as he and his girlfriend returned home from a night out in Birkenhead.

The 27-year-old was walking with his 22-year-old partner along Whetstone Lane towards Wilmer Road shortly after midnight on Tuesday when they passed four youths.

The gang launched an unprovoked attack on the man and, when his girlfriend intervened, she was grabbed by her hair.

During the assault he received injuries to his lower back and shoulder caused by a sharp weapon police believe to be a knife.

The four attackers ran off down an alleyway between Whetstone Lane and Wilmer Road in the direction of Woodland School. The victims returned to their home and called police.

The victim was taken by ambulance to hospital in Liverpool for treatment.

He was discharged a few hours later having received stitches.

The woman did not need medical treatment but was left shaken and upset.

Officers have carried out house-to-house inquiries in the area and are appealing for witnesses to come forward.

Detective Inspector John Griffith said: “This was a nasty, unprovoked attack on a young couple returning home from a night out in a local bar.

“A group of youths have been loitering in the alleyway and have confronted the couple as they have walked past.

“The male victim was assaulted by all four of them and as he tried to fight back, his girlfriend has intervened and also been hurt.

“I am keen to hear from anyone who witnessed this incident or saw a group of youths loitering in the alleyway beforehand or saw people running away from the scene.

“Your information could be important to us catching the people responsible."

Call Birkenhead CID on 0151 777 2265 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.