A MAN fought off a gang of six intruders who tried to ransack his home while his children slept in the next room.
Peter Fourie, 36, had just put his two year old son and four year old daughter to bed and was watching TV with the lights off when he heard voices in his house in Afton Terrace, in Trinity, Edinburgh.
He went in to his bedroom and discovered one teen going through his wife’s handbag on a sofa by the bed.
The accountant dragged him through the kitchen to the back door where he was attacked by the others.
During the fight he was kicked, punched and hit with flowerpots and bottles from his garden before the gang fled in a car.
Police are now hunting the thugs, who left him needing stitches at hospital after the incident which took place around 9.30pm on Tuesday.
Mr Fourie said: “My wife Christine had gone to the gym and I’d got the kids off to bed, read them a story then switched off all the lights, closed the doors and put the TV on to watch a police programme.
“I heard a door open and thought it might be Christine coming back from the gym. Then I heard a couple of voices and knew it wasn’t.
“I came out of the room and saw a flashlight in the bedroom.
“I went in, switched on the light and the guy was really surprised. He was going through my wife’s handbag, but when he saw me he jumped on the bed.
“I went after him and got him in the corner. I got him in a grip and frog-marched him in to the kitchen.
“When I switched on the kitchen light and shouted, I heard feet running to the back door so I knew there were more of them.
“The drawers were all open and it was chaos.
“I got this one to the back door and his mates came to help him.
“We all ended up outside but I didn’t let go.
“That’s when it all kicked off.
“They started attacking me, kicking and hitting me, and they picked up flowerpots and threw them at me.
“I’ve got cuts next to my eye and stitches behind my ear where they hit me in the face with a spirit bottle we use for flowers.
“I’ve also got a cut hand and I’m bruised. I used to play rugby and it feels like I’ve been in a really bruising game.
“I was hit quite a few times but I connected with one good knee so perhaps that one’s got a scar the police can use to help catch him.
“He struggled free and they all ran. Three of them ran to the back of the garden and jumped in to the neighbour’s yard and three more went the other way.
“They got away in a car.”
Peter and Christine, 34, came to Edinburgh from South Africa in 2003.
Christine returned from the gym just in time to see the two groups stroll out of their garden and the one next door.
She said: “I hit my horn to alert Peter they were coming out of my garden. They were screaming and swearing and making signs at me. Then they all jumped in to a car.
“I only realised what had happened when I went indoors and found my stuff all over the floor in the bedroom and the kitchen.
“Peter was on the phone to the police, in shock.”
Peter was in hospital until 1.30am having x-rays and stitches to injuries including a cut behind his ear, while a cut on his hand was glued.
He said: “I think they just thought the house was empty and tried their luck.
“You don’t expect something like this to happen.
“I just thank God the kids slept through the whole thing.”
Police Scotland Detective Constable Mark Seymour said: “This was a very frightening experience for the victim who discovered the suspects within his home and who was then assaulted.
“Anyone who was in the area of Afton Terrace and Granton Road at around 9.30pm on Tuesday and saw a silver Vauxhuall car or has information about who was responsible is urged to contact Police Scotland on 101.”
Police Scotland issued descriptions of those involved.
The first male, who was in the house, is decribed as white, around 5ft 10in tall, short dark hair, slim build, around 17 years old, wearing a black woolly hat, dark navy blue tracksuit top and bottoms, possibly Adidas with stripes and a gold logo on the arm.
The second male is described as white, Scottish accent, 19 years old, 5ft 10in tall, slim build with short hair, and was wearing a white and red coloured scarf over his face, grey hoodie with the hood up and grey trousers.
A third man is described as white, 19 years old, 5ft 8in tall, and chubby.
Three further suspects were described as between 16 to 18 years old and wearing dark clothing.