A MAN needed hospital treatment after being shot in the face by an air rifle whilst driving a road sweeper.

The 55-year-old was driving the vehicle on Bournemouth Avenue, Priestfields, Middlesbrough when he was shot at around 1pm yesterday by what is thought to be an air rifle pellet.

The pellet smashed through the vehicle’s driver-side window and the man required hospital treatment for his injuries.

The man was working for the Stockton-based housing group, Thirteen, when he was attacked and the company's CEO, Ian Wardle, said: “This is an appalling incident and we wish our colleague a speedy recovery.

"Our workers are on the frontline, providing valuable public services.

"They don’t deserve to be treated this way.

“We are working with the police on their appeal and hope that witnesses will come forward to bring the people responsible to justice.” 

Cleveland PC Mark O’Hagan said: “This was a sickening, callous, attack where a man just going about his normal work duties has sustained a serious injury.

“We’d appeal for anyone who may have seen anything or has any information which could help us to call 101, quoting reference 194011.

“We’d also like to hear from anyone with dashcam or private CCTV which may help our investigation.”