POLICE have launched an appeal after yobs placed a firework in a homeless man's pocket in Liverpool city centre.

Merseyside Police received a report at around 8.20pm on Bonfire Night, that a man had suffered a leg injury after a group of yobs had assaulted him with a firework in Lime Street.

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."

Officers say that they have not yet located the homeless man 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 enquiries in Lime Street and the surrounding areas and I would urge anyone with information to please come forward.

"You may have seen a group of youths making off from the area, or a male who appeared to be injured, and any information, no matter how small, could assist our enquiries.

"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."

Anyone who witnessed the incident or has any information is asked to contact @MerPolCC, 101 quoting ref. 1216 of November 5, 2018 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.