Four teenagers have been arrested after they threw eggs and flour on a disabled woman and then posed for a photo behind her.
In the vile picture, the boys can be seen taunting the woman as she sits on a park bench covered in flour, seemingly too frightened to move.
The attack happened in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, on Friday, (July 27), at around 5.30pm.
Police have said two 17-year-old males and two 15-year-old males have been arrested in connection with the incident, but have since been released on bail.
The identity of the photographer, and whether they took part in the attack, is not yet known, The Sun reports.
Police said the victim, a woman in her 40s, had eggs and flour thrown over her after a verbal altercation with the group of teenagers.
According to locals, the youths in the photo are part of a bigger group, who’ve been terrorising parts of the town for weeks.
The woman was severely distressed but not physically injured, according to police.
Inspector Anthony Bridgland said:
This type of behaviour is totally unacceptable and we are treating the matter seriously.
We know this incident may have caused concern and anger both in the local community and online, but we would like to reassure everyone that we are tackling the matter robustly and supporting the victim.
A friend of the victim, Katherine Brame, posted on Facebook after the incident, saying:
I have to speak out. Today’s incident has made me so sad and devastated. The lady in question needs her privacy and suffers with an unseen illness.
She cannot cope with people popping in, or gifts. It’s complicated but if you want to help, how about donating to a mental health charity as people with these unseen illnesses go under the radar all the time and they are totally under-funded.
Then maybe she will get the real help she needs from qualified people. You’re all very kind.
The incident gained attention on social media after Robin Armstrong posted the image, along with a video of himself saying he wants to ‘lead the way’ in tracking down the offenders.
You little f*cking nothings have been over to an old woman with disabilities, poured water all over her head and then poured flour all over and stopped for a photograph.
That photographs says a thousand things – I don’t even have to say any words. [sic] You’re going to be chased out of your city – hunted down.
Your mums and dads lives are f*cking wrecked because of you. Posing for a photograph? The only photograph you are going to be posing for are the ones the police are going to have.
A resident of the area, Andrew Willsher, 46, said:
Groups of kids congregate in packs and hang around the parks and the shops. The truth is that there is nothing for these kids to do out here so they cause trouble.
There are some boys who often gather in the park behind, and people avoid them at all costs because you know it will lead to trouble.
Let’s hope the victim recovers from the incident and it doesn’t affect her further.
If you’ve witnessed an incident, you can call the police on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.