The patron of a charity which supports transgender people was attacked in what police are treating as a hate attack.

Writer Sarah Savage, who is a patron of Wipe Out Transphobia, was kicked and called “mate” by a drunken lout as she walked through Peacehaven.

Now the 31-year-old, who lives in Saltdean, has spoken out about her ordeal. “It was terrifying,” she said. I felt so vulnerable and I want the person who did this to me caught.

“I was walking along the street when I saw a man urinating. He appeared drunk and I just walked by. He then apologised for urinating.

“He asked me for a cigarette. I ignored him and carried on walking. He came up to me and started threatening me.

“I did not want to say anything but he went from calling me ‘love’ to ‘mate’. It got increasingly violent and I felt incredibly vulnerable.

“He grabbed and kicked me.”

Miss Savage was able to pull herself free and called police. They have released CCTV footage of a man they would like to talk to in connection with the incident which took place in South Coast Road at the junction with Roderick Avenue on October 20.

Detective Constable Sheila Nicholson said: “We are treating the incident as an assault, with the man intending to rob the victim.

“We are investigating this as a hate crime due to the man becoming more violent when he realised that his victim was transgender.

“This was very upsetting for the victim and we are offering her support to cope with her ordeal.”

Anyone with information should call 101 quoting serial 1530 of 20 October, email contact.centre@ or call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.