A group of young boys and girls allegedly tried to set fire to a 10-year-old girl in an unprovoked attack in a park.
The girl and a friend had been in New Ferry park, Wirral, at around 1.15pm on Sunday when a gang reportedly set upon her.
The group is believed to have been made up of girls and boys aged around 12 to 13.
Both girls had a drink thrown over them and the young attackers allegedly attempted, unsuccessfully, to set the 10-year-old girl’s coat on fire.
The young girl was left with redness and grazing on her face from the assault.
Hundreds of Liverpool Echo readers were appalled by the incident, with many condemning the behaviour of those involved.
Jackie Duddle said: “This is vile behaviour.
“These monsters need [to be] punished, never mind saying they are only 10 and 12 years old, they are old enough to know what they are doing.”
Sandra Devereux said she hoped the young victim wasn’t too shaken by the attack.
She said: “Hope the young girl is okay. What is it coming to when young kids can’t go to a park, when we get nasty horrible little rats thinking they can go round abusing others?”
Jen Ward added that she had “no words”.
She wrote: “Poor kid, must have been terrified.
“This will likely affect her for the rest of her life. I’ve got no words strong enough for the ferals [sic] that did it..”
Betty Williams added: “They are just horrors. Hope the injured girl makes a full recovery.”
A spokesperson for Merseyside Police said: “We are investigating following reports that a 10-year-old girl was assaulted in a Wirral park yesterday, Sunday 18th April.
“The girl had been with a female friend in New Ferry park on New Chester Road at around 1.15pm when it is reported she was assaulted by a gang of males and females aged around 12-13.
“It is also believed one of the group tried to unsuccessfully burn the girl’s coat.
“Both girls also had a drink thrown over them.
“The 10 year-old girl suffered grazing and reddening to her face during the incident.
“An investigation is underway and CCTV and witness enquiries are ongoing.”
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Detective Inspector Darren Taylor said: “This was a completely unprovoked attack and was a horrible incident for the young girl and her friend to endure.
“We are carrying out enquiries in the local area and I would ask anyone who was in the park or the surrounding area who saw anybody or anything suspicious to contact us.
“This type of behaviour is in no way acceptable and I would ask parents of children living in the local area to speak to them and ask if they have any knowledge of the incident or those responsible so that we can take action.”
Anyone with information is asked to DM @MerPolCC or @CrimestoppersUK on 0800 555 111 quoting reference 21000246347.