Colchester Council's public safety boss has hit out after a racial assault in the town centre - but insists the nighttime economy is safe.

An investigation has been launched after a group of men were attacked in what police believe was a racially aggravated assault.

The three victims were assaulted in Red Lion Walk, in the Lion Walk Shopping Centre, in the early hours of the morning.

During the attack, a 20-year-old man suffered a broken nose, a 20-year-old man suffered a chipped tooth and a 21-year-old man was left with a lump to his forehead.

Essex Police have released a number of CCTV images of people they are looking to speak to as part of their inquiries.

Mike Lilley, councillor responsible for planning, public safety and licensing, said he was disappointed to hear about the attack.

He said: “It is the first I have heard about the incident.

“Assaults are bad anyway but racially aggravated assaults are worse still.

“It is not good enough, we are now in the 21st century for goodness sake.

“Obviously the police have CCTV coverage which is good news.

“Hopefully those responsible will be caught and brought to justice.”

Gazette: Public safety boss Mike LilleyPublic safety boss Mike Lilley

Despite the distressing incident, which took place at around 2.30am on Saturday, February 23, Mr Lilley said Colchester was a safe place to visit on a night out.

He said: “The usual stories you hear about Colchester being a bad place to go out at night are untrue.

“We check the figures and check with the licensees themselves and as far as we know Colchester is a safe place to go.

“Sadly you will never stop some morons who have had too much to drink and cannot control themselves.

“The town is certainly safer now than it was back in the 70s and 80s but sadly there will always be an incident or two.”

Anyone with information is asked to call PC Hayley Langmead at Colchester Police Station on 101 quoting reference 42/30014/19.

Alternatively witnesses can contact the Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or use the anonymous online form at