POLICE officers were attacked by a suspected drink driver who punched them and gouged at their eyes on a deserted road at night.

The officers - Sergeant Simon Kempton and a female colleague who has been in the force for just a year - were driving on the A35 near Morden Park Corner at 9.20pm last Saturday when they saw a vehicle ahead swerving in the carriageway.

Unable to safely stop the car on the road, which is subject to the national speed limit, the officers followed in their unmarked vehicle until the driver ahead suddenly pulled onto a verge.

Sgt Kempton then activated the unmarked vehicle’s blue lights and stepped out to speak with the driver, who was “swaying” and “slurring” his words.

“He was pouring with sweat and frothing at the mouth,” Sgt Kempton said.

Becoming concerned that the man would step into the road - which has no pavements and was in darkness - the officer lightly took his elbow to move him away from the carriageway.

The man responded: “Don’t you ******* touch me” before moving towards the road again.

Sgt Kempton took a stronger hold of his arm before the man elbowed the officer in the face, forcing him into a patch of brambles and nettles. The man then kicked the sergeant in the thigh.

Sgt Kempton grabbed the man’s legs, toppling him to the ground, but the man then pulled the officer’s jacket over his head.

“He put his hands under the jacket and gouged his thumbs into my eyes. When I flinched away, he jumped up and got back into his car," Sgt Kempton said.

The officer was able to get to his feet and wrestle the keys from the ignition. However, the man then got out of the vehicle and attacked his less experienced colleague, punching her in the face and pulling her hair.

The man was sprayed with Parva during the row but seemed “impervious to pain”, Sgt Kempton said. He then went into the road as a car approached.

“A car was bearing down on him - I thought he’d get hit,” Sgt Kempton said.

“I ran into the road and managed to drag him back. A second later the car flashed past.”

Moments later, a marked car arrived to provide back-up. Officers from this vehicle warned the man they had Tasers and he surrendered.

Sgt Kempton, who has been an officer for 18 years and serves in the Police Federation, suffered injuries to his ribs and eyes. Both he and his colleague have since returned to work, and say they have received “fantastic” support from the force.

“I’ve got a duty of care to make sure that man isn’t badly injured or killed, even if he’s trying to hurt me. After it happened, I had what I suppose you’d call flashbacks of being on my hands and knees in brambles and the car bearing down on him," he said.

"I want to highlight that attacks on police don't just happen in London and Manchester, but places like Dorset too."

He said the incident had also been stressful for colleagues who raced to help.

"The emergency buttons on our radios were on, which means they could hear it all, and so could everyone in the control room," he said.

"An incident like this really does affect us all."

Sgt Kempton spoke to the Daily Echo to raise awareness of attacks on frontline emergency services workers as part of the Police Federation's Protect the Protectors campaign.

Those behind the initiative are calling for a change in legislation leading to tougher sentences for those who assault workers, better training and access to equipment including Tasers, more accurate data on police assaults and inproved welfare support.

A 40-year-old man from Bristol has since appeared in court and been sent to jail.