A BLOOD-soaked man staggered into a pub after being stabbed in a suspected racist attack.

The Iranian refugee burst into the City Tavern, in Sunderland, on Thursday, bleeding from his back and arm.

Staff and customers called for help when the man burst through the door at around 7.45pm.

Workers covered the man's wounds with towels and ice before he was rushed to Sunderland Royal Hospital.

A member of staff from the pub said: "We all got a hell of a shock. The lad rushed in all of a sudden and was screaming in a foreign language.

"There weren't many people in the pub at the time, but we all realised quickly that the man was bleeding heavily and needed help.

"He was in a lot of pain. We covered him in towels to soak up the blood as best we could, and called for the police and an ambulance."

Officers are working with an interpreter to speak to the man about the incident.

Detective Inspector John Watts, leading the investigation, said: "This is a serious crime, certainly the most serious attack I have seen on a person in recent times.

"A sharp-bladed weapon has been used to inflict the injuries, and the weapon has slashed through several layers of clothing, leaving the victim suffering from deep wounds."