AN off-duty policeman was assaulted after challenging a man for smoking on an Altrincham tram.

At around 1am on February 23, the 45-year-old police officer was with two friends on a tram at Altrincham Metrolink Station when he saw a group of six men, one of whom began smoking by the doors.

The off-duty officer informed the offender he was not allowed to smoke, which prompted him to become verbally abusive.

As the tram set off, the man identified himself as a police officer and asked whether the offender had a valid tram ticket, which he did not.

Another member of the group took offence to the man being a police officer and knocked him to the floor.

The man’s 48-year-old friend tried to intervene and was also knocked to the ground - he was left with two black eyes and a cut to his nose after the attack, while the policeman sustained cuts and bruises.

Police have released CCTV images of the alleged offenders. Det Con Lee Attenborough said: “The victim took exception to the offenders loutish behaviour and when he challenged them was met with a barrage of abuse.

“This continued when he identified himself as a police officer and even led to him and his friend being assaulted.

“If anyone recognises anyone from the CCTV images I would urge them to get in touch.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 0161 856 7640, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.