A HAVE-A-GO hero was stabbed and kicked as he attempted to stop three teenage boys being robbed in Bolton town centre.

Violent thug Patrick Cullen, who was drunk on Jack Daniels, and his accomplice Regan Sharples, targeted three 15-year-olds as they sat in Victoria Square playing on their mobile phones.

Cullen forced them to hand over the devices and repeatedly punched the terrified boys.

And when security worker Adrian Hornby, who was heading home after finishing his shift, tried to intervene, attempting to grab a knife from Cullen, he was repeatedly stabbed in the head and body.

But the callous attackers were not content to let their victim walk away, bleeding heavily from his wounds.

Instead they chased after him, threatened him again with the knife and robbed him before police arrived on the scene and caught them.

Cullen and Sharples, both aged 21, pleaded guilty to the robberies, possessing knives and assaults, including causing grievous bodily harm to Mr Hornby and appeared at Bolton Crown Court where film of the horrific attacks, captured on town centre CCTV cameras, was shown.

They both face lengthy prison sentences.

Simon Barrett, prosecuting, told the court how, on Sunday evening at 11pm on May 9 three Asian boys were sat on concrete benches in the square in front of the town hall.

Cullen and Sharples, riding bicycles from the direction of Newport Street, came to a halt in front of them.

"Patrick Cullen was the main offender and, during what was a prolonged incident, he threatened to stab them with a knife, which he produced. He repeatedly punched all three victims, mainly to the head and face whilst demanding each one of them hand over their phones and money," said Mr Barrett.

Sharples did not take a knife out of his pocket but verbally took part in the robberies, during which the frightened boys were racially abused.

All boys were injured and, in victim statements, told how they are now afraid to go out.

Mr Barrett said one boy added that he had "previously always felt accepted and never felt discrimination from others and this means he now feels out of place."

Mr Hornby arrived on the scene during the robberies and intervened, attempting to calm the situation for several minutes before taking an opportunity to try and seize the knife Cullen had in his hand.

But the attackers turned on him, Sharples hitting out with a bottle and kicking him to the ground and Cullen repeatedly stabbing him.

Mr Hornby managed to get away, heading across the square towards Old Hall Street, but Cullen and Sharples, after retrieving their cycles, headed after him, demanding money and a mobile phone from him.

"Cullen again produced a knife to threaten Mr Hornby, who eventually handed over all the money he had, just £2," said Mr Barrett. Sharples hit out at him and Cullen slashed at his legs with his three-inch bladed knife.

Miraculously, Mr Hornby was not severely injured but, in a victim statement, said that he has not been able to return to work and now suffers from PTSD.

The court heard that Cullen, of no fixed address, has 33 previous convictions for 62 offences, mainly for theft.

Colin Buckle, defending, said he had been released from his last prison sentence having given up drink and drugs and, on the day of the robberies, had gone to buy a sandwich and soft drink but had been tempted by a bottle of Jack Daniels, which he shared with Sharples.

Mr Buckle described Cullen as "immature", adding, "On one night he made this horrendous decision".

Mark Friend, defending Sharples, of Shaw Road, Horwich, stressed that he has not committed any previous offences and met up that day with Cullen, who he had not seen for some time.

"It is a decision which Mr Sharples will regret for many years," he said.

The Honorary Recorder of Bolton, Judge Martin Walsh, decided to reflect upon the case over the weekend and will pass sentence on Monday.