Police in Ayrshire are appealing for information after an officer was hit by a hammer thrown from a crowd gathered outside a house in Kilmarnock.

Approximately 250 people were gathered at the address in Hareshaw Gardens at around 7pm on Monday night.

But when police arrived at the scene to disperse the crowd, a male officer was hit on the head by a hammer which someone threw from the crowd.

He was taken to Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock for treatment and was later released.

Now, police are appealing for any witnesses to come forward to assist the ongoing inquiry. 

Chief Inspector Steven Meikle, Area Commander for East Ayrshire, said: "No-one should expect to be subjected to violence while doing their job - and that includes police officers.

"We respect people's right to peacefully protest but someone brought a hammer to this protest and one of our officers was struck on the head with it. This changes the landscape entirely.

"The consequences could have been more harrowing, the hammer could have landed on a child's head, and our officers would have been expected to respond accordingly.

"The safety of our officers is absolutely paramount. They are relied upon to keep people safe but they are people too - being assaulted is simply not part of the job. 

"The impact these groups are having on communities and policing is detrimental to our efforts to keep everyone safe. We can't condone nor do we encourage  any group or individual to take the law into their own hands. 

"If anyone has concerns or information they think we should know then please come to us and let us manage those concerns in a professional manner. Do not take the law into your own hands. Do not put the safety of other people at risk."

Anyone with information or video footage of the incident can call 101, quoting incident 2903 of 26 October, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.