A have-a-go-hero from Worcestershire told how he thought he was going to die when a car thief booted him in head "like a football".

Danny Mason, 37, of Kidderminster, was so savagely beaten and covered in blood his family initially thought he had been shot in the face.

The dad-of-two suffered a fractured cheek, broken nose and cut lip after he confronted the would-be-thief in Blackburn, Lancashire.

He had just left a family party at around 11.45pm on Saturday to have a cigarette when he tried to stop the crook from stealing the next door neighbour’s van.

Danny said: "We'd gone up to Blackburn to celebrate my younger cousin’s engagement and we’d had a few drinks and a takeaway.

"I went outside for a cigarette and just heard a noise which sounded like someone trying to force a car door.

"I remembered my cousin saying they’d been a few car thefts in the area and I just shouted out 'Are you trying to break into that van?'

"A bloke appeared at the end of the driveway and just held up his hands and smiled and said 'Yeh, I am, fair enough'.

"He seemed quite friendly at first and I said to him, ‘Look you can’t go around stealing people’s cars, it’s not right’.

"He must have realised I was on my own outside because he suddenly ran towards me and punched me repeatedly.

"I must have been knocked out because I only remember seeing a policeman in hospital and he said I’d been attacked.

"The police said they think I must have been stamped on repeatedly.

"Basically, he kicked my head like a football and would have carried on if a neighbour across the road hadn’t seen what was happening and called the police.

"My family didn't recognise me and at first my sister said she thought I’d been shot because my face had swelled to twice it’s normal size and I was covered in blood."

Since the attack, forklift truck driver Danny has been unable to work and he has suffered flashbacks and nightmares.

Danny, who lives with girlfriend Louise Murray, 37, added: "I hope to God they find this man because he’s dangerous. He could have killed me.

"Looking back, I thought I was doing the right thing by speaking to this man, but now I am in so much pain that I cannot sleep or work."

He was taken by ambulance to Royal Preston Hospital before being transferred to the facial injury unit at Royal Bolton Hospital.

Police have now released CCTV images of a white man around 6ft tall who they are hunting in connection with the attack.