GARY Vigors looks like a car wreck this morning, but what he endured at the hands of hoodlums was no accident.
The 61-year-old has a broken nose, two black eyes, stitches in the back of his head and his left hand, and he's got skin off his forehead and a swollen left wrist, after a brutal attack early yesterday.
A group of young men laid into him and left him lying bloodied and battered on the road before smashing his car window as they walked off.
Gary - a long-time Sawtellian affectionately known as Bubbles - was awoken at 12.45am by his dog barking and loud noises in the laneway beside his Elizabeth Street home.
He stumbled outside, looked over his front fence and saw five males down the road.
Some of them, he said, were trashing chairs they'd taken from one of his neighbour's verandas.
He was so annoyed he grabbed a piece of timber from his back balcony and got into his car to confront them.
He found them at the end of the street.
"I pulled up and said 'are you the guys smashing up stuff in the area'. One of them said 'don't come at us with a bit of timber'," Gary said.
The group then rushed at him and he swung at them, but they knocked him down and clobbered his face a few times.
He also remembers them belting his head with something, making a deep wound, and generally kicking and punching him.
"They stopped and walked up the street, and as they left me on the road, they smashed my car window with the timber I had," he said.
"I jumped up and felt blood all over my face. I drove back home and my wife, Sue, took me to hospital.
"It's given me a scare."
Gary has since learned the louts had been hurling chairs in his back lane and must have been in his yard, because his ladder had been thrown into the Uniting Church garden next door and bushes were trampled.
When asked if he'd confront troublemakers the same way again, he replied: 'Definitely not'.
"I was that angry, because this type of noise and vandalism happens every week. They pull palings off our fence," he said.
"I'd had enough, so I thought I'd scare them."