YOBS filmed their dog attacking an intoxicated man and told onlookers to look out for it on YouTube, witnesses said.

The pair approached the elderly man as he sat outside Costa Coffee in Boscombe Precinct at around noon on Wednesday and invited him to stroke their Bull Mastiff-type dog.

They are said to have ordered the dog to attack him before the animal knocked him to the floor, prompting onlookers to call police.

The men ran away before police arrived.

A witness, who did not wish to be identified, said: “When they let it off the lead one of the men said ‘Attack’. The dog leapt at his throat. It knocked the man flying. I think if the chap hadn’t blocked the dog it would have torn his throat out.

“They ran off and one said: ‘This will be on YouTube this evening’. The men were a couple of thugs. The dog was a huge Mastiff-type dog. It was black. After one of them said ‘Does anyone else want some?’ They laughed and walked off. The chap was just sitting down in shock.”

A Dorset Police spokesperson confirmed that police had been called to a dog incident outside Costa Coffee.

Paramedics also attended but the man although “heavily intoxicated” did not require treatment she said.

Police considered that no offence had been committed and no-one was arrested but police enquiries continue she said.

A man, employed at premises nearby, also said an incident had taken place, adding: “He told the dog to attack him. It knocked him to the floor unconscious. He videoed it on a camera.”

A shopkeeper told the Daily Echo: “A lady came up to us and said she needed the security guard but didn’t say why. Later another customer said there was an incident involving two men and a dog and one guy set the dog on another one.”

Angus Reid, spokesperson for Boscombe Traders Association, described it as “vile”, adding: “I think the bloke should be locked up and banned from having a dog for life.

“There’s a lot of people with that type of dog round here but most of them are nice-natured. I have never heard of anything like this in Boscombe before.”