POLICE are appealing for witnesses after a serious assault which left a 19-year-old man with a broken jaw.

They also want to identify a local resident who broke up the altercation that happened on New-stead Road, Weymouth in the early hours of Saturday.

It occurred between the cemetery and the Abbotsbury Road junction between 2am and 3am and is understood to have followed an argument between two groups of youths.

PC Charlie Forsey, of Weymouth police, said: “The offender app-roached the victim and hit him with a belt.

“This caused the victim to fall to the ground where he was then kicked by several people.

“I understand that prior to the assault, the victim and his friends had been involved in a verbal altercation with another group of young people.”

The main offender is described as white, of slim build and in his late teens. He was wearing a grey tracksuit at the time of the attack.

Residents said they were ‘surprised’ to hear of the assault but could not confirm the identity of the man- who police are keen to trace- who is believed to have broken it up.

One, who did not wish to be named, said: “I’m surprised – I haven’t heard anything about it.

“As far as I know, the police haven’t been round either.”

Others reported hearing a commotion at around the time the incident is alleged to have taken place.

One said: “I was in bed and I heard some noise outside but I didn’t think anything of it. You don’t expect something like that to be happening do you?”

PC Forsey added: “I understand that a local resident left his house and broke up the assault.

“This man has yet to be identified and I am appealing for him to contact Dorset Police as soon as possible as he may be able to help with my investigation.”

“I would urge anyone who witnessed this nasty assault to call us – in confidence – at the earliest opportunity.”

The victim, from Weymouth, was treated at Poole Hospital Witnesses and anyone with information should call Dorset Police on 101.