A SECURITY guard was beaten up after he was ambushed by three thugs during his night shift.

The 42-year-old victim, who was guarding a Hartlepool factory, was set upon at about 8.45pm on Saturday.

In an apparently motiveless attack, he was beaten about the head before his assailants ran off.

A spokesman for Hartlepool police said the guard had been patrolling at the rear of factory units, on the town's Park View West industrial estate, when he was set upon.

After the attack, the three men ran off in the direction of the Jutland Road estate.

The guard was taken to Hartlepool General Hospital, where he was later allowed to go home after treatment for facial injuries.

Detective Sergeant Dave Smithson, one of the officers investigating the attack, said: "This would appear to be a cowardly attack on a working man who was going about his normal duties as a security guard.

"Any information to help us track down the perpetrators would be greatly appreciated."

Anyone with information about the attack is asked to call PC Paul Lightowler, at Hartlepool police station, on (01642) 302126.