A milkman has been stabbed in the stomach by a teenage boy trying to steal a crate from his float after he and his friend were refused a lift.
The Briscoe’s Dairy driver was attacked while delivering on Eaton Lane in Tarporley, Cheshire at about 05:00 GMT.
He suffered a “nasty wound” but was not seriously injured, dairy owner Edward Briscoe said.
The milkman, named only as Rob, wanted to carry on his round after being checked by paramedics.
Mr Briscoe said Rob, who has worked for the dairy about seven years, was asked by the pair “for a lift down a country lane and he said he couldn’t” as it was “an electric float [and] it doesn’t have any passenger seats”.
“One of them tried to get a crate off the back and as Rob has gone round the back, one of the lads has stabbed him,” he said.
“It’s horrible to think there was intent there to really hurt someone.
“I dread to think what would have happened if he didn’t have the thick coat on, but I’m just so thankful he’s not badly hurt.”
Mr Briscoe said the boys, who he described as being aged “15 or 16” and about 6ft (1.8m) and 5ft 3in (1.6m) tall, made off through a gap in a hedge and across a muddy field.
“Someone’s got to know who it is,” he said.
“The field was seriously muddy, they will be covered – on their shoes, on their trousers.”
Cheshire Police has asked for anyone with information about the attack to come forward.