TWO young men who were beaten with a claw hammer in a vicious robbery after a night out in Oldham town centre have told how they feared for their lives.

The 20-year-olds suffered head wounds when they were attacked by a gang near to Oldham King Street Metrolink tram stop in the early hours of Saturday.

It was the latest of a spate of incidents at or near the town’s Metrolink stations being investigated by police.

Greater Manchester Police said they are taking the incident “incredibly seriously” and will be increasing patrols on the Metrolink for the foreseeable future.

The two friends, who have asked not to be named, were walking home when they said they were suddenly “pushed from behind” in Union Street.

One of the victims, from Chadderton, said: “We had no idea anyone was behind us. All I remember is being on the ground.

“One of them was holding my hands down. Another had a hand over my shoulder.

“I remember him saying ‘stay there, do not move’ and I just said ‘take what you want’.

“They took everything - my car keys, house keys, iPhone, driving licence, bank cards, money.

“I didn’t manage to get back up. They kept attacking us while we were on the ground. Even when I was down they hit me over the head with a metal claw hammer.

“I was fearing for my life.”

His friend said: “They would not stop. I looked behind and there was this group stood over us.

“There were at least four of them, all dressed in black.

“I got up and tried to draw them away. I was shouting ‘stop, leave him alone, get off him’.

“Once they had taken our stuff they ran off towards Oldham Sixth Form College.”

The two friends had been out drinking at the Bees Knees with a larger group. But they split up and called at The Godfather in Union Street for a takeaway.

They had just reached Oldham King Street Metrolink when they were attacked.

After the attack, the two friends ran to nearby Village Cars, off Union Street - a taxi hub they had used previously.

The radio operator said: “They staggered into the office. They were very shaken up and bruised.

“One of the victims was crying. He had a coat in his hand that was all ripped. The other was dazed and did not look very well so I sat him down. hey were shaking. I called the police.”

Shortly before 4am, he drove the pair to the Royal Oldham Hospital.

He eventually contacted one of the victim’s mother who drove to A&E to be with her son.

His mother said: “I was absolutely traumatised. I wanted to be sick. I wanted to cry when I saw them both.”

The families of both victims intend to write to their MPs and call for more police officers across Oldham.

Police are investigating. A spokeswoman said: "We received a report that two men had been assaulted and robbed.

"We were called to King Street Metrolink stop shortly before 3.10am.

"I can confirm the victims said they were hit with a metal claw hammer.

"We are taking this incredibly seriously. We are doing all that we can.

"We are working with Metrolink. There will be increased patrols on the Metrolink for the foreseeable future in light of these incidents."

Metrolink bosses said that the severity of incidents at their stations had increased throughout February and early March.

Since last year, additional staff and security have been working to combat antisocial behaviour.

Danny Vaughan, head of Metrolink for TfGM, said at a press briefing last week (March 22): “We know there has been a spike in the number of incidents of crime and antisocial behaviour in the Oldham area recently.

“I think the severity of these incidents give us a renewed focus on this area.

“It is something we are working with partners to try and tackle.

“We are using intelligence to deploy, to the best of our abilities, the staff and teams we have available.”

Metrolink said it is increasingly sharing intelligence with partner organisations, including Greater Manchester Police.

They are working under the Greater Manchester TravelSafe Partnership (TSP) which exists to keep public transport safe across the city.

Analysts have also been employed to find trends and hotspots to ensure more staff are made available in those specific areas.

Aline Frantzen, managing director at KeolisAmey Metrolink, added: “Sometimes there are mobs of 10 or 20 people on the lines. We have a very large network to find a critical mass of a team that can go onto a tram safely and effectively.

“The game is shifting. We are seeing that the hotspots are changing.”

Anyone with information should call police on 101, quoting reference number 0332 of March 24, 2018."