POLICE have issued CCTV images of potential witnesses to a brutal assault in Malton.

James Ennis was left unconscious after he was struck on the head from behind while walking along Chancery Lane just after midnight on New Year’s Day.

The 32-year-old, who lives in Norton, suffered three bleeds to the brain and spent more than a week in hospital.

Insp Andy Everitt, of Ryedale Police, said: ‘“What does it take to get through to people that there is no place for violence in our town centres? There is a significant physical, psychological and emotional impact on anybody who is assaulted, irrespective of the circumstances.

“I made an appeal before the festive season for people to manage themselves properly when out in the night-time economy and this is an example of a few persons failing to do just that. I feel very sorry for Mr Ennis and Ryedale Police are determined to do all they can to bring those responsible to justice.”

Insp Everitt added: “Lessons were learned last year in Stokesley when a 17-year-old male of previously good character delivered a single punch to a male victim who fell to the pavement hitting his head on the kerbside and died. This young man is now in prison for manslaughter.

“It is often only luck that prevents a similar outcome here in Ryedale when we deal with incidents such as this. We have taken huge leaps forward in tackling violent crime in our town centres and we are seeing reductions in violent crime against this time last year.

“This particular assault only determines our resolve to stamp out all night-time economy violence.”

Anyone who can help is urged to phone the police on 101, select option 2 and ask for Malton police. Or phone Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, quoting reference number 12130000539.

l Two youths have been arrested on suspicion of assault and released on police bail until March.