Published: 14:26, 07 June 2018
| Updated: 15:12, 07 June 2018
An ice cream man in Deal says he is struggling to sleep at night after the keys to his van were reportedly stolen.
Melvin Nobbs, 63, recently forked out many thousands of pounds for a new Mercedes Sprinter van in order to be able to serve the frozen treats in style.
But following an incident in Walmer on Sunday, the vendor who has spent almost four decades building up his reputation fears the vehicle could be taken.
Mr Nobbs had pulled up in The Beach, just off The Strand, around 2.30pm when he says he was physically assaulted by a woman and two men.
He said: "She assaulted me by punching me in the mouth and broke my glasses.
"A man sat on the grass with a blanket came over and got me by the neck.
"The van was running. As all of this was going on the woman opened the driver's door, took the keys and then they all did a runner."
Mr Nobbs who says he suffered bruises and a cut lip phoned a friend who was able to bring him a spare set of keys in order to drive home. He later reported it to Kent Police.
He said: "I'm very worried. I'm having a job to sleep. It could be nicked at any time.
"The van is in my garden at night. I have CCTV and I make sure it's locked but nothing is really safe.
"To replace the keys is going to cost me thousands."
He described the woman as in her 50s, around 5ft 6inches tall with dark, short hair.
He says she was accompanied by two men. One who appeared to be in his 50s who was short with a bald head.
The other looked to be in his late 20s and was of a slim build, approximately 5ft 8inches tall with dark hair.
A spokesman said: "Kent Police is investigating a reported assault and theft on The Beach, Walmer, between 2.30pm and 2.40pm on Sunday, June 3 2018.
"It was alleged that a man was assaulted by three people before a set of keys were stolen from his van.
"Enquiries are ongoing and anyone with information is urged to call 01843 222289 quoting reference ZY/30819/18."
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