A BRIDGWATER man has been left afraid to leave his home after masked thieves broke in and attacked him with a claw hammer.

Photographer Rich Wilshere, was editing pictures in his King George Avenue home on Tuesday night when he heard a knock on the door, and went to answer it, presuming it was his neighbours.

"It was around 10pm. I opened the door and was flung open, and I was suddenly being punched in the face and nearly hit in the head with a claw hammer," Mr Wilshere said.

"As the two masked men tried to barge their way into my home, I managed to regain my footing and I tried with all my strength to stop them," he said.

"Again I was punched in the back of the head just behind my ear and the other swung the hammer at me, demanding money.

Mr Wilshere said he managed to grab the hammer and as he was pushing back a neighbour's light came on which startled the attackers, and he managed to get them out and slam the door behind them.

"As they were leaving they the hit the door with the hammer, smashing the pane of glass," Mr Wilshere said. "The police arrived shortly afterwards."

Mr Wilshere said the men were around 6ft tall and dressed in black.

"I was very shaken and now I fear for my safety staying in my own home. I have been having nightmares every night since the attack," he said.

"This could have been anyone and these people were only setting out to use violence to get what they want. This was an unprovoked attack.

"I keep myself to myself, and I enjoy life as a photographer but since this has happened I am very scared about even leaving my home. 

"These people are caught and brought to justice before they seriously hurt someone else.

"I was not badly hurt but have cuts to my hands and my ear, my left thigh is bruised. But If I had been caught by the hammer I could be dead.

"I have a bull terrier but he just seemed to think it was a game."

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said: "We were called about an incident in King George Avenue in Bridgwater on Tuesday, April 18 at about 10.50pm.

"Two men called to a property and when the victim answered the door they barged in and demanded money.

"When the victim refused he was assaulted but fought them off. As they left the house they smashed a pane of glass in the front door of the property.

"The victim did not appear to be injured and refused the offer of an ambulance. CSI attended the property following day.

"Incident is being treated as attempt robbery and police enquiries are continuing.

"Anyone with information to help our enquiries is asked to call 101, quoting reference 5217086085."