A 12-year-old boy was repeatedly stabbed while playing on a bouncy castle at his sister’s eighth birthday party in what police have called a “despicable” attack.

The boy was attacked in front of 14 other children and his own mother by two assailants who gatecrashed the gathering in Liverpool.

Witnesses said two attackers, said to be men in their late teens or early 20s, cornered the child before stabbing him and walking away, without running, down Southport Road in the city’s Bootle area.

The boy – who has not been named – was taken to hospital on Wednesday afternoon, and he is now set to undergo surgery.

On Thursday morning a 20-year-old man was arrested by Merseyside Police in connection with the incident, which the force said was “not random”.

Detective Chief Inspector Gayle Rooney said: “Although it is pleasing to have made a quick arrest, our investigation continues and we’re gathering all information to piece together the circumstances.

“If you saw anything or hold any CCTV, dashcam, or other material, get them to us as soon as possible.

“We understand the concern that such an incident has in the community. This was not a random attack and we believe that all involved were from the local area.

“Nonetheless, for a young person to be assaulted is despicable, so it’s vitally important that anyone with details to assist comes forward.”

They added that no arrests had yet been made but CCTV from the area was being scoured and forensic tests carried out.

She told the paper: “They came straight in the back garden and went for him, punching and kicking him and then stabbed him three times.

“There was a lot of blood so we just tried to keep pressure on the wound until the ambulance came.”

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News – Boy, 12, stabbed repeatedly on bouncy castle after being targeted at sister’s eighth birthday party