POLICE were on the hunt for a hooded gang last week after a man was stabbed in Kings Worthy.

The attack happened in an alleyway near Springvale Stores, Fraser Road, at around 8.30pm on Thursday.

It was reported that three men wearing hooded tops had attacked the victim but nothing was stolen.

Local residents have identified the injured man as Michael Phillips, 43, who works in the Premier Convenience Store on the road.

He was taken to Southampton General Hospital and spent at least the next two days recovering there.

Co-owner of the Premier shop, Jud Varghese, 41, who lives in Hedge End, said: “It’s such a shame this has happened to Michael. He’s like a family member, not only to the shop but to the whole Kings Worthy community.

“He hadn’t even been working that day, he went to Southampton and came back home. After locking his car he walked down the alley and that’s where it happened.

“It is a terrible thing but people need to appreciate this is just a one-off and everyone needs to show community spirit.”

The mother of a witness, whose house neighbours the shop, said: “I’ve been here nearly ten years and it’s just such a surprise. My son phoned the ambulance and I ran straight over after realising what had happened.

“It’s a shock knowing who was stabbed, too – Michael is one of the nicest guys ever, anyone who lives here will tell you that.

“I just hope it’s an outsider from our community, I’d hate to think otherwise.”

Since the attack residents have been trying to show Michael as much support as possible, with a Just Giving fundraising page set up for him.

It has currently received £835, with a target of £1,000.

Police are appealing for anyone with information to call 101, quoting reference number 44180447209.

Steve Brine MP said: “This has really shocked many of us, this is Kings Worthy after all. I am being briefed regularly by the police and think it’s important we let them get on with what is a serious investigation and do their job.

“I have made very clear though, within the bounds of what’s appropriate of course, the importance of communication with residents and a visible presence because people are understandably anxious right now.”