Friends ‘racially attacked’ and ‘had petrol splashed on them’ on city seafront

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TWO friends say they were racially assaulted and had petrol splashed over them during a terrifying attack on Portsmouth’s seafront.

One of the victims, who asked not to be named, said he ‘could have been killed’ when he was confronted by two men in Ferry Road late last Sunday evening.

The 30-year-old and a friend had spent the day fishing in Southsea, and after eating dinner returned to the seafront to find a wallet they had lost.

But after leaving their car parked by the roadside, they said two men came out of a nearby caravan and started smashing the vehicle’s windows with a wooden stick and garden fork.

The victim, who moved to Southsea from Bulgarian capital Sofia six years ago, said when they returned to the car the men began shouting at them.

He said: ‘They started shouting about what we were doing there. My friend doesn’t speak very good English and said he didn’t understand.

‘They said they didn’t like immigrants and would kill us.’

The victim said the men started punching them and one splashed petrol from a can over the pair.

The pair eventually fought them off and managed to escape to call the police, but when they returned with officers the car had been set on fire.

The man, who has a one-year-old son, said: ‘I’m still in shock that this happened. Nothing like this had happened to me before.

‘My family could have been in the car. We were lucky that we managed to defend ourselves because we could have been killed.

‘It is not a safe area, and I don’t want this to happen to anyone else.’

Two men, aged 28 and 34, were later arrested on suspicion of arson and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

They have been released but remain under investigation.