A man is fighting for his life after being stabbed in front of his fiancée and two daughters in broad daylight in a busy town centre.

The victim, who is in his 30s, was attacked shortly before midday on Mothering Sunday while he and his family were walking along a main road in Thetford.

A witness said: “It was shocking. There was a girl saying ‘mummy, is daddy okay?’. She was crying and obviously very upset.”

READ MORE: Road closed after stabbing

The victim, who has not been named, is in a critical condition in Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

A large police presence was seen in Thetford throughout the day on Monday, with a forensic tent put up at the scene, near Eastgate Vets on the corner of Mill Lane and Bury Road.

A cordon is also in place at an address in nearby Amulet Close, where police went shortly after the incident, following their initial inquiries.

There they arrested a man and two women on suspicion of conspiracy to commit attempted murder.

They remain in custody.

Officers say they believe two more people were involved in the incident and the hunt is still under way for them. 

Police say those involved were known to each other.

Senior officers have said the road in the area may remain closed for a couple of days.Thetford & Brandon Times: A police cordon remains today in Bury Road in Thetford (Photo: Newsquest)

One friend of the victim, who did not wish to be named, said: "His wife is absolutely heartbroken after the unbelievable incident when he was attacked in front of their children.

“No child should have to see their dad suffering and left on the floor like he was. It’s harrowing that this has happened.”

Another woman, 28, who lives nearby, said: “I can’t quite believe how this could happen in broad daylight. It is just unbelievable.

READ MORE: Man in critical condition after stabbing

“Had the incident happened 20 minutes earlier my son, who isn’t even two yet, and I would have seen it as we were walking home.

“It’s disgusting behaviour and I am very shaken by it as I don’t want my son growing up in a town full of danger.”

Thetford & Brandon Times: The view of the cordon from the bottom of Old Bury RoadThe view of the cordon from the bottom of Old Bury Road (Image: Bruno Brown)Thetford & Brandon Times: The police cordon taken from Old Bury RoadThe police cordon taken from Old Bury Road (Image: Bruno Brown)

A couple who live about 100m from the scene of the stabbing said that about three months ago they found a knife, about 50cms long, hidden under a van outside their home.

They called the police who collected it.

They said: “Living this close to the town centre means inevitably drama is going to fall on our doorstep, but finding that blade left under my van was a warning sign to us that people in the town carry weapons.

"So it was a matter of time until one was used, and sadly it has happened - and again nearly on our doorstep.

“We don’t know anybody involved but just hope the victim makes a swift recovery.”

Thetford & Brandon Times: Police forensics are still searching the areaPolice forensics are still searching the area (Image: Bruno Brown)

One man in his 50s said: “I think this is a really sad reflection on our lovely town but we are seeing crime getting worse and worse here which is such a shame. 

“I really hope the victim makes a fast recovery and those responsible are dealt with properly.”

A police cordon remained in place on Monday and the road is closed from Star Lane to Mill Lane, near St Mary’s Church. 

Police spent the day nearby searching bins and bushes in the area.

Thetford & Brandon Times: Police forensics teams searching the areaPolice forensics teams searching the area (Image: Bruno Brown)Thetford & Brandon Times: Police have been thoroughly searching the areaPolice have been thoroughly searching the area (Image: Bruno Brown)