SURGEONS were today attempting to re-attach part of a man’s ear which was bitten off by a thug during a pub brawl.
The 39-year-old victim is being treated at St John’s Hospital in Livingston, which has a specialist plastic surgery unit, as police investigations continue into the attack.
The victim had the top of one ear torn off during the fight with another drinker in the Whispers Lounge Bar in Tranent’s High Street, where he is understood to have been drinking for several hours. The pub was busy after showing the Old Firm game and police have appealed for witnesses.
The victim also suffered a bite to his hand, a black eye and scratches to his face during the incident at 9.30pm on Sunday.
The attack happened only yards from Kopa’s takeaway where former soldier John Auld was murdered on March 4.
Police rushed to the bar after being phoned by frightened staff who told them a fight had broken out.
Detectives were last night waiting to interview the victim.
Detective Constable Laura White, from Dalkeith police station, said: “The victim had been out drinking during the day and it seems that the suspect was also drinking in Whispers when this fight began.
“We’ve not been able yet to ascertain the reason behind the fight. We’ve not spoken to the victim, though, as he has to wait for his reconstructive treatment to be carried out.
“There was about a dozen people in the bar at the time police arrived. It had been a normal Sunday and the football had been on so it was reasonably busy, but it’s possible that other patrons left when the fight started. There may also have been passers-by on foot or in vehicles who can help identify the suspect.”
The suspect is described as white, late 20s, 6ft 2in, with a stocky build. He was wearing light grey tracksuit bottoms and a light blue hooded top.
DC White said officers had recovered CCTV footage from the bar, and had carried out door-to-door inquiries.
A staff member at Whispers said no-one was available to comment on the incident.
Calls were made last month for more action to tackle drink-related disorder in the town following the murder of Mr Auld, despite police reporting an 80 per cent drop in calls.
Councillor Jim Gillies, whose ward includes the town, said: “I’m shocked that this incident has happened. It’s really terrible and it comes so close after John Auld was killed.”
Two men – aged 30 and 36 – were charged with the 59-year-old’s murder.