Police in Coleraine are appealing for witnesses, following the report of an assault at East Strand beach in Portrush yesterday evening. (Saturday 15 May).

Inspector Stephen McCafferty said: “Four teenage boys were on the East Strand beach around 7.30pm last night. They were approached by a group of between 30 and 50 other young people who suggested they fight.

“When the four boys refused and turned away, they were set upon by members of the larger group. Three were punched in the face. One sustained a cut above his eye, another fell to the ground and was beaten around the head with what we believe was possibly a hammer or other metal object. The third was then pushed into the sea and an attempt made to hold his head under the water. Another of the friends was hit by a bottle on the shoulder.

“This was an unprovoked and vicious attack on four young people - and we are appealing to anyone who saw what happened to get in touch with police. We believe the incident took place about halfway along East Strand beach. The perpetrators were said to be wearing dark tracksuits and they spoke with Belfast, Ballymena and Derry accents.

“Anyone with any information should call police on the non-emergency number 101 quoting reference number 1723 of 15/5/21, or submit a report online using our non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/. You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at http://crimestoppers-uk.org/. “

The Police Service of Northern Ireland is appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident or anyone with any information that will assist the investigation to contact us on the non-emergency number 101. Information can also be passed anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.