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Man arrested over park attack on homeless man

PUBLISHED: 16:52 18 August 2019 | UPDATED: 16:57 19 August 2019

Police investigation under way in Diss Park. Picture: Simon Parkin

Police investigation under way in Diss Park. Picture: Simon Parkin

Archant

A man has been arrested following an attack that left a homeless man with serious head and facial injuries and led to a park at the centre of Diss being cordoned off.

Police investigation under way in Diss Park. Picture: Simon ParkinPolice investigation under way in Diss Park. Picture: Simon Parkin

Police were called to Park Road shortly after 9.40pm on Saturday, August 17 following reports a man had been attacked by another man armed with a metal tool.

Enquiries led officers to arrest a man a short time later at 10.10pm on suspicion of assault occasioning grievous bodily harm.

The suspect was taken to Wymondham Police Investigation Centre where he remains for questioning. The victim, a 32-year-old man, was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for treatment.

Police investigation under way in Diss Park. Picture: Simon ParkinPolice investigation under way in Diss Park. Picture: Simon Parkin

On Sunday morning part of Diss Park remained cordoned off as the investigation continued. Forensics investigators could be seen examining a site close to the edge of Diss Mere.

Despite the police activity the popular town centre park remained open to the public. It had been hosting a weekly Sunday morning car boot sale as the investigation unfolded less than 400m away.

Ben Spencer, 34, from Roydon, who was with his two children at the park play area close to the area that had been sealed off, said: "It's a bit shocking to see the police here. Clearly something has happened but we've been told that it is something we need to be worried about.

Police investigation under way in Diss Park. Picture: Simon ParkinPolice investigation under way in Diss Park. Picture: Simon Parkin

"It's a bit surreal for the kids to be playing while scenes of crime officers are working just over there."

Beverley Jones, from Diss, said: "We always come on Sunday mornings to the car boot sale. You don't expect to see this sort of thing."

Inspector Laura Symonds, of Norfolk Police, said: "I'm aware this incident has caused concern among the local community. The victim, a homeless man, was left with serious injuries and is in a stable condition in hospital. I would like to reassure the public we believe this to be an isolated incident and the victim and offender are known to one another."

Police investigation under way in Diss Park. Picture: Simon ParkinPolice investigation under way in Diss Park. Picture: Simon Parkin

The man living in the tent had previously spent six weeks camping on a grassed area in grounds of retirement bungalows on Victoria Road in Diss.

Saffron Housing Trust, which runs the complex whose residents are aged into their 90s, had launched court action to move him on.

Diss district councillor Keith Kiddie said: "This is a terrible thing to have happened. No one can condone someone being attacked in a public park whatever their circumstances and I commend the police for acting so promptly to get someone in custody.

"People sleeping in the park is clearly not ideal. No one wants that. I do know he was offered a place a place in a hostel but that hasn't worked out for whatever reason.

"But come Monday the district council and the town council will be hopefully engaging in some proactive measures for him."

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