Police are “desperately” hunting a knifeman who stabbed a man in the chest in an unprovoked attack in south London.

Detectives investigating the incident in Croydon have issued CCTV images of the suspect, who they warned posed “a real risk to the public”.

The 26-year-old victim told officers he was sitting outside a property at around 3.50pm when a man walked past him.

London’s Metropolitan Police said the suspect stopped suddenly, pulled a knife from his backpack and lunged towards the man without warning.

The victim attempted to avoid the attack, but was stabbed in the chest close to his right shoulder. 

The suspect then placed the blade back into his back and walked away from the scene casually.

The injured man was taken to a south London hospital for treatment. 

“We desperately want to locate this man as he poses a real risk to the public, and maybe, even himself,” Detective Inspector David Willis, from Croydon CID, said. “This appears to be a completely unprovoked attack that could very easily have turned into a far more serious incident. 

“It is by sheer luck that the victim did not suffer any life-changing injuries.”

 Detectives have advised the public not to approach the man in the CCTV images if they recognise him and to instead contact Croydon CID using the 101 non-emergency number.

London has been battling a wave of violent crime since the turn of the year, which has left more than 80 people dead.

Of that number, 53 are thought to have died as a result of stabbings.

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