A WOMAN was stabbed in a public toilet in Poole at the weekend.

Witnesses saw the woman, 52, lying in the street, clutching her wound, after being dragged from the toilets off the Broadway, in Broad-stone, by a passer-by.

Police sealed off Macaulay Road for around two hours following the stabbing on Saturday, and a cordon remained up around the brick toilet building into the evening.

Armed police, sniffer dogs and the police helicopter were all scrambled to search for a female attacker.

Paramedics took the woman to Poole Hospital , but she has now been released.

Costa Coffee assistant manager Dan Burgess, pictured right, went out to try and help when he heard the police sirens.

He said: “I could see a lady on the floor. The police and ambulance were with her.

“She was clutching her stomach. They were giving her oxygen and asking her questions.”

A man using the men’s toilets had rescued the grey-haired woman, who had been stabbed under her left breast with a serrated-edge kitchen knife, Mr Burgess said.

He added: “He heard her screaming for help. So he went into the ladies’ toilet and dragged her out to her car, which was parked outside, and dialled 999.

“Everyone was pretty concerned – if it had got her heart she could have died.”

Paramedics treated the woman at the scene for around 15 minutes then took her to hospital.

Colleague Emily Bealing, a barista, pictured, said: “The customers have been pretty worried.

“Everyone’s pretty concerned and pretty shaken up.

“It’s a quiet area and you don’t expect this.”

Trish Wiggins, from McColls convenience store, said: “It’s awful.

“We heard the police helicopter going at about 2pm.

“What is the area coming to? It’s a bit scary.”

Another worker on the Broadway said: “It’s normally sleepy around here.”

The offender is described as a 40-50 year old woman with olive coloured skin, approximately five feet tall, of plump build.

She has black curly shoulder length hair held back with either a hair band or scarf and was wearing a navy blue faded overall type coat.

Witnesses and anyone with information should call Dorset Police in confidence on 101 or the free and anonymous Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111.