A 72-year-old man was assaulted in a churchyard while he was volunteering as a car park attendant.
The incident, which police are describing as an ‘unprovoked attack’, happened in the grounds of St Mary’s Church in Fratton on Thursday between 6.15pm and 6.30pm.
The victim was attacked from behind. He was punched to the ground and then repeatedly hit.
Police said he sustained a bloody nose, his lip was cut and swollen and he has swelling and bruising to his forehead.
After the attack, the suspect walked away towards Fratton Road.
The suspect was white, in his late 20s or early 30s, 6ft and slim. He had a dark complexion and spoke with a local accent. At the time he wore a dark jacket, dark trousers and a black ‘beanie’ hat.
PC Adam Ives, who is investigating the incident, said: ‘This was a horrific, unprovoked attack on an elderly man, in a quiet area of church grounds.
‘Fortunately this type of incident is not common; however I would advise people to be alert, not alarmed, and to, where possible, avoid walking through dark or secluded areas alone.
‘I would like to hear from anyone who may have witnessed this incident, or recognises the suspect from the description.’
Anyone who knows about the incident can call police on 101, quoting 44160020718.