A SHOP owner will be scarred for life after a gang of yobs attacked him in Basildon town centre.

The victim required nine stitches in his lip along with plastic surgery after a yob hit him in the face just outside his store, Feet First.

The attack happened in broad daylight at 2.36pm on Saturday, after the victim went to confront the yobs who had been throwing stones at the store.

Ian Miller, 51, who witnessed the assault, said the yobs had been trying to provoke people in the town centre for most of the day and that a weapon had been used in the attack.

He said: “They came out of the centre at about 2.30pm, when we had a shop full of customers. We were serving them when all of a sudden a stone comes flying into the shop.

“They were standing outside, smoking drugs, and tried to come inside. When they did, the victim came forward and pushed one of them backwards, not hard, he didn’t fall over, just enough to stop him coming in.

“They then threatened us, saying they would stab us in the neck, and generally being obnoxious.

“They left, but then about ten seconds later another stone comes flying into the shop.

“The victim then stepped outside and was attacked. A security guard at B&M saw the whole thing.

“They were throwing punches at the victim and then one comes up from behind and hits him in the face, slashing his jaw.

“He must have been carrying some kind of knife, knuckleduster or other weapon.

“There was blood absolutely everywhere.

“The victim was taken to Broomfield where he had to have plastic surgery. He had six stitches on the outside of his lip and three on the inside because the puncture wound went all the way through.

“He’ll be scarred for life.”

Mr Miller claimed the police attended within five minutes and managed to round up the yobs but let them go.

He added: “The B&M security guard gave a positive ID, but the officers then said they did not have enough evidence and had to let them go.”

A spokesman for Essex Police dismissed claims a weapon had been used.

The spokesman said: ““Officers carried out a search of the area and the suspect who punched the victim was not located.

“Enquiries are ongoing to find him.

“No arrests have been made. Witnesses are asked to call 101 quoting reference 42/57930/19.” A gang brawl the previous week is still being investigated.