Police are urging the public not to take the law into their own hands after a man was assaulted in Northumberland in a case of suspected misidentification.
At around 10pm on Saturday, a 50-year-old man was assaulted in a rear lane of Manners Gardens in Seaton Delaval. He was left with a number of nasty injuries and was taken to hospital for treatment to serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
Police are carrying out inquiries into the assault, but currently believe that the man was targeted as a result of misidentification.
At the beginning of this month, Northumbria Police released an image of a man they wanted to speak to about a string of indecent exposures in the Seaton Delaval area.
It is believed that the person responsible for the assault believed his victim was the man in the image. Police can confirm that this was not the case and officers investigating the indecent exposures are following other lines of inquiry.
A 49-year-old has since been arrested in connection with the assault on Saturday evening and has been released from custody pending further police inquiries.
Now Inspector Garry Neill, from the Blyth Neighbourhood Policing Team, has warned members of the public not to take the law into their own hands.
He said: “This man has fallen victim to a serious assault and we do believe this is because somebody wrongly believed him to be a potential offender. In fact, this man was an innocent member of the public and for him to be targeted in this way is completely unacceptable.
“Nobody should ever take the law into their own hands and if members of the public believe they have information about an incident then they should speak to us directly. We understand people want to protect victims of crime in their local community, but it is the duty of the police to take appropriate action and the police alone.”
The man circulated in the original image was somebody police wanted to speak to about an indecent exposure offence. The man was in the area at the time of one of the exposures and may have information useful to the inquiry.
Anyone with any information about the indecent exposures or the assault on Saturday should contact police on 101, quoting log 1197 22/04/17, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.