Ian Howson stabbed trying to stop Coatbridge car theft

Det Insp Bob Frew describes the attack for BBC Scotland's Aileen Clarke

A 57-year-old teacher has been stabbed after confronting three men who were trying to steal his neighbour's car.

The attack on Ian Howson, in Blairhill, Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, took place at about 05:40 on Monday.

Mr Howson treated for his injuries at Monklands Hospital before being released on Tuesday morning.

Strathclyde Police are treating the attack as attempted murder and have appealed for anyone with information to contact them.

Part-time teacher Mr Howson was at home with his wife in the town's Lefroy Street prior to the attack.

On hearing noises outside, his wife went to investigate and saw three white men acting suspiciously at their neighbour's car.

His neighbour's house Mr Howson saw men acting suspiciously near his neighbour's house

Mr Howson went outside and confronted the men who turned on him and stabbed him before making off on foot along Lefroy Street and into Mount Vernon Avenue.

The first suspect is described as between 20 and 22 years old, about 5ft 8in (1.73m) tall, with dirty fair hair and broad shoulders. He was wearing a grey sweatshirt.

The second suspect is described as between 18 and 20 years old, about 5ft 6in (1.68m) tall, with fair hair and of a thin build.

The third suspect is described as between 5ft 4in (1.63m) and 5ft 6in (1.68m) tall, well-built and with short dark hair. He was wearing dark clothing.

Det Insp Bob Frew, who is leading the investigation, said: "There were three of the suspects against just one man - it really does beggar belief that he was attacked so viciously for just trying to defend property.

"We believe that the three men involved were opportunists looking to steal anything they could.

"It is possible that they had been in the area for a while as there were a number of either break-ins or attempts to break in at other houses and cars in the area. Someone must have seen or heard something and we would urge them to come forward."

Det Insp Frew said officers were checking CCTV images from the area and carrying out door-to-door inquiries to try and establish the identity and movements of those responsible.

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