A YOB assaulted a dog lover before running off with one of his four puppies.

James Hindley was punched in the face four or five times before his attacker ran off with cornlands labrador, Chomsky.

However Mr Hindley, 37, gave chase with his remaining puppies and cornered the youth at the ambulance station in Rayne Road, Braintree, where the yob dropped Chomsky and fled.

The drama unfolded after Mr Hindley, a horticulturalist, arrived home near midnight in Rayne Road after visiting a fellow cornlands labrador breeder in Stisted.

He had taken Sasmita, the puppies’ mother, and their grandfather Wellington into the house, and was putting leads on the three-and-a-half-month-old puppies when he was approached by a young man, aged between 18 and 20.

Mr Hindley said: “I was just about to put the lead on the fourth puppy when this youth turned up right next to me.

“He started talking about having had an argument with his girlfriend. He then said he was going to take one of the puppies and I said no he wasn’t.

“Then he started to bash me around the head with his fists on the left and right side and on the bridge of the nose. It must have been about four or five times.

“I was just so shocked. I was completely dazed. He then picked up the fourth puppy and ran with it down towards Braintree town centre.”

Mr Hindley ran after him and watched as the man tried to get through fencing behind the ambulance station with Chomsky, before dropping him and escaping.

Chomsky was uninjured and has now found a new home in Cheshire as a show dog.

Mr Hindley, who was left with slight injuries, said: “I was very shaken. It hit me the most when I went out to take them for a walk the next day.”

He is caring for the remaining puppies – Cacia, Luke and Popper – with housemate Angus McGregor.

Mr Hindley’s attacker is described as white, 6ft 1ins tall, slender with a slim face and mousey/dark auburn hair. He wore a grey and blue jacket and jeans.  Anyone with information about the incident on March 12, details of which have just been released, should call PC Rosanna Rowe at Braintree police station on 0300 3334444 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.