A NEWSAGENT suffered a suspected fractured skull and jaw after he was coshed over the head with a steel bar.
Police have described the attack on Dave Parsons, manager of Bolton Avenue Newsagents in Huncoat, as "nasty and unprovoked".
Mr Parsons, 52, was attacked at 7.50pm on Wednesday after a group of teenage boys stole alcohol from the shop. He jumped in his van to chase the boys, aged around 16 or 17, and was assaulted after he caught up with them.
Mr Parsons said: "The kids came into the shop and pinched some beer and wine so I went after them.
"I confronted them and one tackled me from behind and I suffered a blow to the head."
Julie Oates, 43, who has worked for the newsagent for seven years, was behind the counter that night.
She said: "Nothing as bad as this has happened before.
"The lads who came in were not from Huncoat as far as I know.
"They were abusive when I confronted them because they didn't look old enough to buy beer and didn't have any ID. They didn't look 21.
"They just took the beer and did a runner.
"My boss drove after them and they attacked him.
"There was blood everywhere coming from the back of his head.
"I was pretty shaken-up."
Mr Parsons was taken to Burnley General Hospital where he underwent X-rays to discover the extent of his injuries.
But he discharged himself at 2am yesterday (Thursday) with five stitches after being told his injuries were not as serious as first thought.
He has a badly-swollen cheekbone.
Brave Mr Parsons said: "I didn't really want to make that much of it because I'm not that kind of person. It was one of those things.
"But I would tackle them if it happened again, definitely. Why should they be allowed to go into my shop and take things we work hard to make a living selling?"
Detective Sergeant Paul Rudd, of Accrington CID, who is handling the case, said: "This is a theft followed by a nasty and unprovoked attack which left a man with injuries to his head.
"Inquiries are continuing and we would urge any witnesses to contact us on 51212."
Police said two people are being quizzed in connection with the incident.