A grandad today spoke of his terror after he was subjected to a hammer attack and robbery as he slept in his motorhome.
Ian Fewster says he is “re-evaluating his lifestyle” after the assault, which saw his wallet and expensive sat nav equipment stolen while he was parked outside his daughter’s Hartlepool home.
Windows of the motorhome were also smashed, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage, before those responsible fled the scene.
Mr Fewster, who is registered disabled after suffering a spinal injury more than a decade ago, had returned to his home town after a summer spent travelling the south coast of England.
He suffered a cut to his leg after he says one of the intruders tried to strike him with a claw hammer, leaving the former industrial cleaner with a gash on his knee.
Four people have now been arrested on suspicion of burglary following the incident.
The attack has led 57-year-old Mr Fewster to reconsider whether he should abandon the travelling life and settle somewhere permanently.
“I’ve had motorhomes for 20 years and travelled all over Europe to places like Germany, France and Spain and nothing has ever happened like this,” said Mr Fewster, a dad-of-two and grandad-of-two who used to run his own industrial cleaning business before being injured at work.
“People need to know that there are vicious individuals like this about.”
Mr Fewster says he had taken medication for his condition before going to sleep in his vehicle, which was parked in Millpool Close, on Wednesday night.
He was then awoken at about 1am by the sound of a man trying to get into his American-style RV, which has now been put into storage.
“I heard rustling and suddenly there was this guy there,” said Mr Fewster.
“There was a bit of a scuffle and I got a blow to the right side of my chest.
“In the struggle his shoe and sock came off before he fled.”
A stunned and shocked Mr Fewster immediately called 999 to alert the police, but just as he thought his ordeal was over, more people tried to get inside the motorhome.
“The next thing I knew, people were trying to smash there way through.
“A woman climbed up on to the driver’s side of the vehicle and was shouting “let him go”.
“As all of this was going on, a woman climbed in through the door and raised a hammer in her hand.
“I thought she was going to smash the place up, but she swung it towards my head. I managed to deflect it so that it hit my leg.
“After that they just fled.”
Items taken included Mr Fewster’s wallet, which had a small amount of cash and some sentimental things inside, and his Snooper Ventura S7000 sat nav system, which he bought for £500.
“Somebody in Hartlepool will know the value of that sat nav and if someone tracks it down and it leads to someone being convicted I’d like to give them a reward of £200.
“What’s happened to me certainly shapes my belief in humanity. There’s between £3,000 and £5,000-worth of damage been caused.
“I can’t continue doing what I have been doing now.
“You buy a motorhome to get out and have some freedom in your life, but now I have to re-evaluate that.”
A spokeswoman for Cleveland police said that two women aged 28 and 19, a man aged 23 and a boy aged 17 who were all arrested on suspicion of burglary have been bailed pending further inquiries.