ANGRY neighbour Lorenzo Trail had to defend himself with a hammer after a gang of thugs vandalised his courtesy car and racially abused him.
Mr Trail saw red when he heard the wing mirror of the car being ripped off as he sat inside his flat in Grosvenor Street, Southsea.
He then went outside to confront a group of four men who were loitering in the street near to the vehicle.
When Mr Trail asked if they had damaged it, they threatened him with racist abuse.
Mr Trail, 42, then grabbed a hammer to defend himself from the backseat of the car, which was on loan to him whilst work was carried out on his Vauxhall Meriva.
The men then backed off and fled before police arrived shortly before midnight on Wednesday, February 29.
‘I didn’t touch the men and my intention wasn’t to harm them at all,’ Mr Trail said.
‘In the heat of the moment I remembered there was a hammer in the backseat because a painter and decorator who had been working on my house had left his tools in there.’
‘So I grabbed it and waved it a few times to let them know I wasn’t going to stand there and take any more of their abuse.
‘I was absolutely furious. I just wanted to send them a message.
‘They were a group of drunks who clearly had no idea what they were doing.
‘I had never seen them around the neighbourhood before.
‘It was the night of the England v Holland game and to me they looked like stereotypical football hooligans.’
‘I felt like I was standing up for everyone who lives in the street because we’ve had problems with people vandalising cars before.
‘I realised that the men weren’t going to back down so I called the police and it was at that point they ran away.
‘The officers who turned up were very supportive.
‘They told me not to put myself in danger next time.’
PC Greg Meacham, who is leading the case on behalf of Southsea police station, said police are now on the hunt for the men.
‘We are keen to identify the males responsible,’ he said.
‘Unfortunately damage being caused to vehicles by rowdy or drunk revellers returning home late at night is a common problem in the city.
‘Such behaviour will be fully investigated and action will be taken against those responsible whenever possible.’
Three of the men were of a large build, white and aged between 36 and 52.
The fourth man, who is not being linked to the offences, was black, aged between 28 and 32 with short dreadlocks and dark clothing.
Anyone with any information should contact PC Meacham at Southsea police station on 101.