POLICE are treating an attack on a 26-year-man as a homophobic hate crime.

He was punched in the face and verbally abused as he walked past two men and two women outside Caffe Nero, Ormskirk Street, St Helens at around 2.15am on Friday, August 29.

The group were then seen sitting on a bench outside Specsavers at the junction of Bridge Street.

The attacker is described as white, 23-24 years old and 5ft 10in tall. He is stocky and was wearing a white short sleeved t-shirt and dark blue jeans. The other man was also white, about 5ft 4in with a slight build, dark hair and was wearing dark clothes.

Any witnesses are urged to contact detectives on 0151 777 6060 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.