A UKIP supporter says he was punched to the ground and kicked by a group of five men for having an election poster outside his home.

Mark Smith, 49, who lives on Magna Road, said he heard some noise outside his home at around 11pm on Monday and found people attempting to pull the UKIP sign out of the ground in his driveway. When he confronted them, the perpetrators ran away but returned a short while later and assaulted Mr Smith.

Mark said: "I shouted at them, 'What the hell are you doing?' and they ran away, got into two cars and drove off.

He added: "I went inside and rang the police but I had a feeling that they would be back."

Mr Smith, who works as a yard manager, said he heard more noise outside and found the same group of people had returned to vandalise the sign.

"I really went for it. I was shouting at them and they were mouthing back in the heat of the moment.

"It was all a bit of a blur, but one person punched me and I fell to the ground. They were all kicking me and surrounding me.

"Eventually I was able to get up and ran back indoors to ring the police back. They ran off and got back into their cars."

Mr Smith says he has been left with a cut below his left eye and bruising to one arm, knee and leg. He believes that his attackers were in their twenties but did not get a clear look at their faces.

He added: "In life, I tend to stand up for myself. I don't like backing down.

"I have supported UKIP for a long time and this is the second time that I have had one of the boards outside my house. At the start of the month, somebody smashed the board with their fists. The last time I had one about five years ago, somebody cut it with a Stanley knife.

"I respect other people's beliefs but I have my own."

A spokesperson for UKIP said: "This is outrageous behaviour and I wish Mr Smith a speedy recovery.

"We are getting used to this behaviour. There is no justification of political violence at any time."

A spokesperson for Dorset Police confirmed that they received a report of an assault on Magna Road on Monday evening, which left the victim with injuries to their head, arm and leg.

Anyone with information should contact Dorset Police on 101, quoting incident number 4:417.