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A man has been wounded with a Samurai sword and axe at a busy National Trust site, shocked witnesses say.
The victim and two others were airlifted to hospital after a pre-arranged fight turned nasty at a beach, it was claimed.
The scrap happened at Formby beach in Merseyside, with police confirming that three men had suffered stab wounds.
Emergency services were called to the site at around 7.20pm on Sunday evening.
The men were taken to hospital by air ambulance, Merseyside Police confirmed.
A witness told the Liverpool Echo that a man was attacked with an axe and a samurai sword during an arranged fight at the National Trust site.
He said: "The lad who was losing the fight pulled out an axe and hit the other lad with it. His mate then pulled out a samurai sword and used that too. It was bad."
Huge crowds headed to Formby beach on Sunday on one of the warmest days of the year so far.
A local man said: "Police closed the beach. Everybody leaving had to give their details."
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There was a heavy police presence on Victoria Road, which is home to millionaires and Premier League footballers, this evening.
CCTV and forensic enquiries are ongoing and officers will be in the area this evening to speak to the community and gather information.
Detective Superintendent Mark Baker said: "At this early stage we believe that these incidents are linked, but are keeping an open mind as to the motives behind them.
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"However, we know the community of Formby and beyond will be alarmed to hear about what has happened and will share our determination to find those responsible and remove them from the streets.
"Officers remain at the scene and are available to support any residents looking for information or support.
"I know that there were a number of people on the beach this evening, and I'd like to urge anyone who saw what happened to come forward and help us to identify the offender as soon as possible.
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"It is appalling and sad that on a sunny day like today when people have been out enjoying themselves we are patrolling our beaches after such a horrific incident. Knife crime has no place whatsoever in our communities and we're doing everything we can to bring the offender to justice."
You can pass information via Merseyside Police's social media desk @MerPolCC on Twitter or 'Merseyside Police Contact Centre' on Facebook with reference 978 of 30/05.
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You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via their online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/give-information.
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