A PARAMEDIC was punched in the face twice during a “shocking” attack by a man he was trying to help in Boscombe.

South Western Ambulance Service was called at 6.30pm on Tuesday following reports a man had collapsed outside Iceland on Christchurch Road.

An eyewitness who did not want to be named said he watched on as a paramedic tended to the man lying apparently unconscious on the pavement.

He added: “He just jolted up and punched the paramedic straight in the face and then hit him again. He got up and started chasing the paramedic, swearing and spitting at him.

“Then he went for the female paramedic but the other one managed to rugby tackle him to the ground.

“It was shocking. Me and some other passers-by helped to try and restrain him.”

A spokesperson for South Western Ambulance Service confirmed it had sent a crew to the scene and that the patient was put in the recovery position before the drama unfolded.

“One of the crew members was assaulted by the patient,” he said. “The member of the crew received treatment for his injuries at the scene.”

Resident Richard Lewis, 38, said he was saddened to hear of the assault.

“It is disgusting,” he said. “Paramedics put their lives on the line for us every day. It is just despicable.”

Shop assistant Ryan Norris, who works nearby, said it is no longer surprising to hear of such incidents in the area.

He added: “It is Boscombe and sadly something you start to expect here.”

Ward councillor Jane Kelly said: “It is very sad and I feel for the paramedic. I commend them for their hard work in such difficult circumstances.”

A spokesperson for Dorset Police confirmed it received a call at 6.47pm to the incident and that the victim had sustained “reddening and minor swelling to the cheekbone”.

She said: “A 32-year-old man from Bournemouth was arrested on suspicion of assault. He is still in custody and helping us with our inquiries.”