TRIBUTES have been paid to a 15-year-old who was stabbed to death in Bolton in the early hours of yesterday.

Detectives were still hunting the killer of the teenager, named locally as Reece Tansey, as The Bolton News went to press.

Police say the victim had knocked on doors in Walker Avenue, Great Lever, appealing for help before he collapsed.

The 15-year-old Harper Green School pupil was taken to hospital but died from his injuries later.

Balloons were released in Reece’s memory by his young friends at Harper Green field last night.

Earlier a flood of tributes had been left on social media by friends and relatives, alongside heartfelt pleas for young people not to carry knives.

His school also issued its own tribute to its student - and confirmed counselling would be available to classmates.

Their statement to parents said: “It is with great sadness that we are contacting you to inform you that an incident occurred in the local community at 4.40am this morning resulting in the tragic death of a Year 10 student of Harper Green School.

“The school community is shocked and saddened by this terrible news and our thoughts are with the student’s family and friends at this difficult time.

“For a life to be ended at such a young age is a total tragedy.

“We will ensure any students who need it receive support and advice through our pastoral system.”

One online tribute read: “rip reece, i honestly can’t believe what i’m writing right now, my heart is in bits. i just can’t believe what has happened to you, put down your knives taking innocent people’s lives!! I love you always reece hope you’re okay up there xx.”

Another wrote: “R.I.P I actually can’t believe I’m writing this I hope your okay up there I’m gonna miss you, love you little man.”

Det Supt Chris Bridge, the officer leading the murder investigation, said: “This incident will understandably be a huge shock to the community and our thoughts are with the boy’s family at this awful time.”

“These are very early stages of our investigation but we would like to reassure the public that we are doing all we can to piece together what happened and find those responsible.”

No arrests have yet been made and an increased police presence in the area has been pledged.

Arshad Mahmood, of nearby Roylands Avenue, said: “The boy knocked on my friend’s car as he came back from mosque, asking him for help I can’t imagine what that must of been like for him.

“He said he told him ‘I don’t think I’m going to live I’m losing too much blood’. He straight away rang for the police and ambulance. I’m just in such shock this has happened here.”

Cllr Hamid Khurram said: “It is so tragic what has happened, the community is in shock and our thoughts are with the boy’s family.

Witnesses are being asked to call 101 quoting log number 359 of May 4 or Crime stoppers on 0800 555 111.