A 71-year-old Bradford man was recovering at home today after burglars sprayed him in the face with a CS gas-type liquid.

William Wright, from West Bowling, was sprayed with the noxious substance, hit over the head by his attackers and kicked.

The two men did not take anything from the house and made their escape when the pensioner called for his dog.

He managed to get to his telephone to press a panic button and raise the alarm.

Mr Wright was taken to Bradford Royal Infirmary, where he received six stitches to a head wound after the attack, which took place at 9pm on Tuesday.

Today Mr Wright, who lives with his son, Alan, said: "I answered the door and saw a man holding a white mask to his face.

"He sprayed me in the face with something. It was like my forehead was burning up.

"The tears were streaming down my face and I was screaming in agony. Another came and hit me over the head with something, then I was kicked.

"It all happened so quick and my vision was blurred by the spray. I shouted for my pet dog and they ran off. I was staggering about but managed to get to the phone and call for help."

Mr Wright added: "There is too much of this violence, especially against old people. They should bring back the birch."

Alan, 38, branded the attackers "cowards", saying: "He is a defenceless old man. He's still shaken up and is frightened to go out of the house alone.

"These people are cowards."

Inspector Paul Jeffrey, from Odsal police, said: "This is a particularly nasty incident. Clearly the assailants are violent people, not bothered by the fact that the victim was an elderly, vulnerable individual.

"There must have been someone in the area at the time of the incident and we would urge anyone who saw anything suspicious in the Parkside Road/ Summerlands Grove area of West Bowling to contact police."

Anyone with information should call Odsal Police on (01274) 376659 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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