POLICE spent almost eight hours hunting for a thug who punched a man in a wheelchair and slashed a 56-year-old with a knife.
The force helicopter was scrambled and an officer and police dog deployed to track down the attacker after he ran off after the Monday afternoon attacks.
The 28-year-old from Berkhamsted is believed to have pulled the blade when a passer-by intervened during the row with a disabled man in a Hemel Hempstead car park.
The onlooker stepped in to protect the wheelchair-user, aged in his late 30s, when he was slashed across the chest.
He was taken to Watford General Hospital by ambulance.
The row broke out close to shops in Henry Wells Square, Grovehill, just after 2.30pm.
It is believed the pair know each other and police spokesman Nicola Lawrence said: “It is part of a historical dispute.”
Sonny Dunbar, an assistant manager at the nearby Henry’s Social Club, called in paramedics. He said: “There was a lot of commotion out the front and I had to call an ambulance.
“It looked like he’d been slashed more than stabbed.”
Police finally caught up with the offender in Colne Way, Hemel Hempstead, just after midnight . He was arrested on suspicion of actual bodily harm.
Investigating officer DS Gillian Fawcett said: “I would like to reassure members of the public that incidents of this nature are extremely rare and that all parties involved were known to each other.”
Police are questioning the man, who remained in custody as the HeraldExpress went to press. Anyone who has any information about the incident should call police on 0845 33 00 222, citing reference D1/11/1880.