A COMMUNITY leader has issued a plea for calm after an 'axe attack' in Blackburn left a 30-year-old man in hospital with serious head injuries.

Rival factions clashed outside the Ice Blast takeaway in Whalley New Road, at around 12.30am last Friday.

Eyewitnesses believe an axe, bats and bars were all used during a pitched battle in the street.

The incident is just the latest outburst of violence to hit Bastwell in 2018 and 2019, amid fears opposing families have clashed in public once again.

And a ward councillor, Shaukat Hussain, has called for residents to resolve their differences peacefully.

Cllr Hussain, who represents Bastwell and Daisyfield, said: "It was a clash between two families, I understand, that has been going on for years.

"I really feel for this poor boy's family as their child is now in hospital. I know him from my mosque and he's a nice lad so I'm surprised he has got involved in this.

"People need to stay calm and if there are any issues then they should be left up to the police to sort out."

An eyewitness said there were at least five men on other side of the confrontation.

He added: "I was out eating with my family when a group of men came in a Toyota Avensis car and got out to attack some lads. They retaliated, it was crazy.

"There were bats, bars and one person got hit on the head with an axe.

"Incidents like this are getting more frequent and the violence needs to stop."

A Lancashire Police spokesman said: "Police were called to a report of a group of around 12 men fighting in the street at Whalley New Road. A 30-year-old man was taken by ambulance to the Royal Preston Hospital suffering from a fractured skull and a bleed to the brain. He underwent emergency surgery and is still in hospital."

He confirmed enquiries are still ongoing and anyone with any details can call police on 101, quoting log number 0018 of May 10, or Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.