A roadworker has spoken out about how a man armed with a bat attacked his colleague because a road was closed.

It comes after Southampton City Council revealed half of the roadworkers in the city have reported a case of abuse in the last 12 months.

As a result, Balfour Beatty Living Places and the city council making a stand to stop roadworker abuse.

Victim Brenton McLean, who works for Balfour Beatty, said a van driver asked to go through a closed road - claiming he lived on the street - but turned violent when asked his address.

Brenton said: "The guy then proceeded to get out of the van with a rounders bat or baseball bat and me and four or five other of my colleagues came rushing to his gate and the guy was just hitting him with the bat.

"We managed to tackle the guy to the ground and we restrained him while one of my other colleagues called the police and we held him there until the police arrived.

"While he was on the ground he was hurling all kinds of abuse."

Police arrived and discovered he did not live in the street.

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In the last 12 months, roadworkers in the city have not only been verbally abused but also physically threatened by people throwing objects at them.

This has included barriers and cones  - and disgruntled drivers have chosen to mount the pavement to avoid road closures.

Brenton added: “The most recent experience I had, I was doing a road closure and some traffic lights, quite close to one of the depots I was working out of and I was racially abused and told go back to my own country, when I was in fact born here!

“The majority of it I know is anger because of the work I’m doing.

“It’s affected my mental health greatly, it’s your job, you shouldn’t have to feel like that.”

Brenton added: “Part of me knows that being in this industry is fantastic.

“You meet some great people and it’s a great way of life, but I wouldn’t really want my children to go through the things I went through.”

Balfour Beatty Living Places contract director Brian Hammersley said: “No-one should come to work expecting to be abused, we view the safety and welfare of all our staff as our priority and we will not tolerate any verbal or physical attacks against them.

“Roadworkers are a workforce who are no different to anyone else; we have families, friends, and feelings, just like anyone else.”

Councillor Eamonn Keogh, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport commented: “Balfour Beatty Living Places are providing us all with safer roads to assist pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles; it’s disturbing to hear that their workforce is being targeted.

“We as a council fully support a zero-tolerance policy towards stopping any abuse towards all roadworkers and frontline workers.”