Published: 07:00, 14 August 2019
A former mayor is recovering after being viciously mugged.
Neil Rix was knocked to the ground and robbed in Dover on his 57th birthday.
And despite police arresting a 24-year-old, he now says more police are needed on the streets to prevent such assaults.
He said: “I’m gutted. I’m 6ft 1in and 23 stone. If it can happen to me it can happen to anyone.
“We need more police on the ground. CCTV isn’t enough.”
Cllr Rix, who was Dover mayor from 2016 to 2018, had first had a birthday drink with his son Ben at the Elephant and Hind in the town’s Market Square last Friday.
He walked on from the pub alone and was set upon by two thugs at Biggin Street near the Peacocks clothing store between 11pm and midnight.
He told the Mercury: “Someone came up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder.
“I was turning to my left and next thing remember I was knocked to the ground and landed on my hands and knees.
“And someone took my wallet from my right trouser pocket.”
“We are relying too much on CCTV and not enough on officers on the ground..." Cllr Rix
Cllr Rix believes that there had been at least two assailants and he had been struck on the back of the neck with a blunt object rather than a fist.
Passers-by came to his aid and he telephoned his wife Jackie to take him home.
The thugs had lifted cash from his wallet and then hurled it to the ground, causing his bank cards, driving licence and HGV licence to scatter on the pavement.
He explains that he saw the assailants escaping along Priory Street towards Folkestone Road.
He recovered all the items except the cash.
Cllr Rix, who was well enough to return to work this Monday, explained that he did not require an ambulance or seek hospital treatment.
But he said this week he was suffering pain on the back of the neck and shoulder.
Cllr Rix says he had experience of amateur boxing as a young man but says: “It all happened so fast, I never had the chance to defend myself. I feel so disheartened. I have worked so hard for this town and this happens.
“This shows that we need more police on the beat.
“We are relying too much on CCTV and not enough on officers on the ground.
“That would prevent this sort of thing, and that’s better than cure.”
A Kent Police spokesman said: “Police are investigating a report of a robbery in Biggin Street, Dover which took place between 11pm and 11.56pm on Friday, August 9.
“It was reported a man was walking down the street when he was assaulted and a quantity of cash was stolen from his wallet.
“Officers arrested a 24-year-old man from Dover on Monday, August 13. He has been released pending further enquiries."
Anyone with information should call Kent Police on 01843 222289, quoting 46/153971/19.
Cllr Rix, an independent member of Dover Town Council and represent the Buckland ward where he was born.
He has been a councillor for 12 years and is also a former deputy mayor in Dover.
He is managing director for the company NT Rix Scaffolding, at Astley Avenue, Dover, and employs 70 to 100 people.
The firm had been responsible for erecting the statue of a First World War soldier on the seafront last month.
More by this authorSam Lennon