A gang of yobs pushed an elderly man into a river before running off and laughing, police have said.
Officers are now hunting for the youths after the disgraceful incident that saw two women passing by having to pull the man out of the water.
The 74-year-old man, who has not been named, was left ‘shaken’ by his ordeal and also suffered injuries to his face.
Cheshire Constabulary said in an appeal that the vile incident took place between 2.30pm and 3pm on Sunday.
The victim was sat on a bank of the River Mersey on Wharf Street near Riverside Retail Park, Warrington.
Two or three male youths are then believed to have ‘pushed him from behind’ causing him to plunge into the water.
The man banged his head as he fell into the cold depths and the offenders all ran away from him laughing.
Two unknown women who were passing by then came to the man’s aid and pulled him out of the water, before he walked home and told his family who went on to report the attack to the police.
Police said that enquiries were ongoing to find those responsible and they have appealed to the two witnesses who helped the victim to come forward.
Sergeant Mark Spaven, of Warrington Local Policing Unit, said: “This was a shocking and upsetting incident which has understandably left the gentleman shaken.
“He returned home freezing cold and had sustained a cut to his face due to banging his head as he fell into the water.
“We are determined to find those responsible and I am urging anyone who has any information or believes they know who did this to come forward.
“I also want to appeal to the two women who thankfully came to his rescue to please get in touch with us as you could have information which could help our investigation.”
Anybody with information can call police on 101 quoting IML 973152 or by dialling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.