A MAN was told he would be “cut up” after a heated row spiralled out of control.

Tensions rose after a customer at Woody’s cafe, in Progress Road, Southend, accused the 20-year-old victim of staring at his girlfriend whilst he was out having lunch with his friends.

The victim’s aunt, Kimberley O’Connell has told of her horror as her nephew was threatened with a knife.

The 44-year-old, also from Eastwood, said: “He had gone into Woody’s around lunchtime to have something to eat, when a man squared up to him for apparently staring at his girlfriend.

“Things started to get heated and the man got more aggressive, shouting and swearing at my nephew.

“He then got a knife out of his pocket, held it towards him, and said: ‘I’m gonna cut you up.’

“He was quite shaken up, but I think he tried to play it down at the time.

“My sister rang me in total panic telling me what had happened; she was devastated.”

Ms O’Connell, who is reminding residents to stay vigilant, added: “I’m willing to do anything to highlight how dangerous this is; this issue needs to be spoken about much more.

“I have three kids of my own who I’d like to think were safe when out with friends, but you just don’t know.

“It’s really frightening that this is going on, I’m absolutely horrified that this could happen to anyone, let alone my own nephew.”

The family have publicly thanked the a staff member at Woody’s cafe, who stepped in during the incident.

The man, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I tried to get the man with the knife out the door and did all I could to keep emotions low for all involved.

“They were close to blows, but I tried to split them up. I had no other choice, otherwise there would have been blood on the floor, and I would hate to see anybody hurt.

“I’m very grateful for the family’s kind words, but what I did wasn’t a big deal. I would have done it for anyone anywhere, whether it was on the street, in my cafe - wherever.”

Ms O’Connell added: “The owner was such a fantastic help, he stepped in between them before things got really out of hand and calmed them down.

“He dealt with it brilliantly, we can’t thank him enough.”

The incident was reported to Essex Police. Anyone with infiormation shold contact the force on 101.