Police have released a shocking image of the weapon they believe was used to smash a pensioner's head in a brutal doorstep attack.
Officers have taken the unusual step in a bid to identify where the weapon may have come from. They are appealing to anyone who may have lost or had a similar item (pictured) stolen to contact them.
Police say that at or around 6-6.15pm on Friday, December 1 the victim, 73, answered the door of his home on Rossetti Avenue in Burnley where he was seriously assaulted to the head, possibly with the hammer pictured here.
He remains in a serious but stable condition in hospital.
Police are continuing to investigate the attack for which they are yet to establish a motive and are appealing for any witnesses or anyone with information to contact them.
They are especially keen to speak to a witness who left Rossetti Avenue and went on to Reynolds Street before entering the Londis shop. He wore wearing dark clothes, including a hooded jacket, and has facial hair.
Police are also advising people in the area to remain alert but not alarmed and to take precautions when answering the door.
Detective Chief Inspector Marie Haworth, of East CID, said: “The victim of this assault remains in a very serious condition in hospital and our enquiries are on-going.
“We have decided to release the picture of the weapon we believe was used in this attack and while I apologise for what some may find a distressing image I do need to find out where this hammer came from and I would ask anyone with information to call us.
“I am also still very keen to speak to the man described as we believe he could be a key witness for us and I would urge him to come forward.
“The motive for this assault remains unclear at this stage but we have a team of detectives and uniformed officers and staff working hard to identify those responsible.
“We are continuing to carry enquiries in the area and checking CCTV but we also need the public’s help and I would appeal to anyone who saw anything suspicious on Friday evening, or in the lead up to this incident, to get in touch.
“Incidents like this are extremely rare but as an extra precaution we have got some extra patrols in the area and if anyone has any concerns or information then they should speak to an officer.
“I would advise people to be careful when opening the door, especially at night, to ensure you know who is there when you answer. If you have a door chain then use it so you can see who is there before you open the door.”
Anyone with information should contact 101 quoting log number 1192 of December 1.