POLICE probing a serious assault in Whitehaven town centre have quizzed two men as their investigation continues.

A 21-year-old was left with what were described as serious injuries following the incident in Lowther Street during the early hours of Sunday.

Officers arrested two men as part of their enquiries.

It was confirmed yesterday that those men - both from west Cumbria - had been released under investigation.

The injured man, whose condition was initially described as critical, has also been allowed home from hospital, police said.

The incident has, however, prompted concerns about behaviour in the town centre - and a call for people to support emergency services.

It’s the type of issue that Copeland MP Trudy Harrison hopes the recruitment of more police officers - as promised through a Government investment - will help resolve in the future.

Business owner Gerard Richardson MBE, of Richardson’s of Whitehaven, said: “I’ve noticed a rise in aggression in the town over the last year or so, and unfortunately it’s not just an evening issue.

“Whether it’s aggressive voices to traffic wardens or idiots scrapping on Lowther Street and being filmed for social media, the trend is a worrying one.”

Mr Richardson added: “I know it will sound draconian, but I honestly believe that we need to get to a position where anyone about to throw a punch, unless in self-defence, knows that there’s a high likelihood of going to prison.

“We have to get across to people that respect for each other - and especially the emergency services - is essential in a civilised society.”

Last month, Amber Sullivan, landlady of The Whittington Cat in Lowther Street, set her staff a challenge to raise £2,000 to cover the costs of installing a defibrillator outside the town centre pub.

She was spurred to start the campaign following a number of incidents in the town over recent months, and her boyfriend, community first responder Nathan Quinn, knows how vital quick access to a defibrillator can be.

“The emergency services are so stretched at the moment and the wait times have gone up, so anything we can do to help is good,” he said.

Conservative Mrs Harrison hopes a move to get more police officers on the streets will help quell problems linked to violence and anti-social behaviour generally.

She said: “No-one should have to be in fear of being a victim of crime walking down the streets in our towns.

“High visibility policing, I think, is one of the greatest deterrents to this sort of anti-social behaviour, and the news that the Government is set to invest in 20,000 more police officers across the nation has been hugely welcomed.

“In talks with our Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, I know he and Cumbria Constabulary have launched a recruitment drive to increase the numbers of officers in Cumbria as a result.

“This will allow the police to further protect our communities and stamp out these unacceptable crimes.”

n Police are continuing to appeal for witnesses to the Lowther Street incident. Anyone with information should call PC Simpson on 101, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.