AN investigation is underway after a New Forest gamekeeper was repeatedly kicked and punched in the head during a confrontation with poachers.

Police say the victim approached a silver car in Sowley Lane, East End before one of three occupants knocked him to the ground and launched the vicious assault.

The attack, on Saturday at 3.30pm, left the gamekeeper needing treatment for head and eye injuries at Southampton General Hospital.

Any witnesses should contact Sergeant Jamie Wiseman at Hythe police station on 0845 0454545 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

A 19-year-old man from the Southampton area has been arrested in connection with the incident. He was released on police bail pending further enquiries and is due to report to Lyndhurst police station on Tuesday April 14.