A FORMER model has undergone £10,000-worth of reconstructive surgery to rebuild his ear, after it was savagely bitten in an unprovoked attack in a pizza takeaway.

Marco Oswald, who turned 23 on Saturday, hopes releasing these photographs will help police find his attacker - who, eight months after the shocking assault, remains at large.

His family is offering a £2,000 reward for information leading to a conviction.

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Mr Oswald, of Crystal Close, Chilton, County Durham, had been out with friends when he was attacked in the Urban Oven pizza shop, in Claypath, Durham City, at about 1.10am on Monday, May 6, last year.

He had ordered food and was waiting for it with his girlfriend, Gemma Vasey, 20, of Ferryhill, when the assault took place.

A stranger entered the takeaway and started fighting him, he said.

“He got me onto the floor and said he was going to bite my ear off and eat it.”

The man bit Mr Oswald’s left ear, tearing off a part half-way up.

A takeaway worker jumped from behind the counter and pulled the attacker away.

Bleeding heavily, Mr Oswald rushed to hospital.

He underwent five hours of reconstructive surgery Spire Washington Hospital, on Wearside, last Wednesday. Cartilage was cut from his right ear and skin grafted from his arm.

He was discharged on Friday and will have bandages and 30 staples removed from his head this Friday and bandages removed from his arm the week after.

However, it could be another year before the bitten ear heals and Mr Oswald will be left permanently scarred. He has had to take time off work and will be unable to play for his Sunday league football team, Ferryhill Dynamos, for several months. His family is footing the £10,000 surgery bill.

Durham police have reissued their appeal for information on the attack. A spokeswoman said no suspect had yet been identified.

Mr Oswald described his attacker as about 5ft 8in with light brown hair, wearing a white top and dark trousers.

Anyone who can assist the investigation is asked to call Durham Constabulary on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800-555-111.

Mr Oswald's family thanked everyone at Spire hospital for their help.