Published: 00:00, 25 February 2016
| Updated: 14:28, 25 February 2016
A world champion clay pigeon shooter has described his terror when armed robbers in balaclavas smashed their way into his home.
George Digweed, who runs a shoot in Kent, was at home with his wife Kate in Northiam when the robbery took place on Sunday night.
Four thugs in dark clothing smashed the French windows at the back of his home and beat Mr Digweed over the head.
They ordered Mrs Digweed to hand over the keys to a Toyota Hilux, then stole thousands of pounds from the safe, before ransacking his trophies, medals and shotguns.
Mr Digweed, who runs the commercial shoot at Owley Farm and the George Digweed Sporting Agency, both in Wittersham, has a glittering shooting career with 26 world titles and hundreds of other victories.
He said: “Unfortunately, Kate and I were the victims of a horrific attack on Sunday night when masked men broke into the house.
“I was badly beaten and we were both subjected to a horrible period of time, during which they stole money, guns, trophies, medals and my black Toyota Hilux.
“We are both mentally scarred forever. I’m also pretty sore. I’m going to try to carry on with my normal schedule as soon as I can, and both of us are hoping that the ensuing months and years are a great healer.
“I would like to take the opportunity to thank Sussex Police and everyone who has sent messages of support at this difficult time.”
The robbers made off with the car and two of Mr Digweed’s prized shotguns, a Benelli auto and a new Perazzi high tech.
Sussex Police has launched Operation Deansway in a bid to hunt down the robbers. They are appealing for witnesses to the crime at the property in Ewhurst Lane in Northiam at 8pm last Sunday.
Det Insp Rob Morland said: “This violent incident has understandably been a distressing ordeal for the victims.
“The suspects smashed through French doors at the back of the house with one of them carrying a hammer.
“I would urge anyone who was in the area and saw anything suspicious to get in touch.”
Witnesses can email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 101 and quote Operation Deansway or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.