A charity shop volunteer was viciously attacked by a gang of drunken teenagers who stamped on him as he lay defenceless on the ground.
The victim, who does not wish to be named, was repeatedly kicked and punched by the young thugs when he tried to deliver stock to Hartlepool & District Hospice’s shop on Owton Manor Lane.
The sickening attack happened in the middle of the afternoon but the attackers had already been downing cans of cider, the 34-year-old victim said.
He said: “They were stamping on me, kicking me and punching me from all different directions.
“I was surrounded, I couldn’t move.”
It was at around 3.30pm last Friday when the volunteer was delivering stock in a van by the back alley to the shop on the St Patrick’s shopping parade.
He said around five youths were swinging on the back of the van when he came out and one of their bikes was in the middle of the road.
They became abusive and threw cans of cider at him when he asked them to move it and they refused.
A larger group jumped on him when he tried to move the bike.
He said: “I picked up the bike to put it on the path and the next thing I know a cosh has come out and they started trying to hit me with it.
“I was defending myself but before I knew it they kicked seven bells out of me.
“It went on for a couple of minutes until I got back to my feet and waved down police.
“I was more angry than anything. We are trying to do a good thing for the hospice and you get people like that. They are just sick.”
The man was left covered in bruises and grazes on his back, knees and elbows.
He believes some of his fingers are also broken from where he was stamped on.
Karen Witherley, Hartlepool & District Hospice’s senior area retail manager, said: “We are sickened and shocked that a group of people, especially just youths, could do this to anyone, not just a volunteer of the hospice.
“It is unbelievable. I have been in touch with him every day since it happened and he is now back at work and quite adamant he wants to be back volunteering his services which is fantastic.
“I think it has made him more determined to do a good job.”
Cleveland Police confirmed they are investigating the incident. Anyone with information should contact officers on the non-emergency number 101.