A man was beaten unconscious after he went to confront youths who posted a firework through his letterbox.

Keith Mills, 54, was found lying bleeding in the street an hour after leaving his house.

His distraught wife Angie, leader of Adur District Council, had no idea what had happened to him until she went to search the streets.

She had expected Mr Mills to return home but went to look for him after he failed to come back an hour later.

She eventually bumped into a policewoman but became more distressed when she was told a "body" had been found.

Mr Mills, an electrical contractor, had been taken to hospital but his wife only discovered how he had been beaten up two hours after he had left their home in Brighton Road, Lancing.

He had been punched and kicked to the ground by youths.

A passer-by raised the alarm after finding him lying on Lancing Green with blood pouring from his wounds.

Mrs Mills said: "He's lucky to be alive. Keith had no identification on him.

"They wouldn't let me into his hospital room to begin with because they had to clean him up.

"He was in a bad way.

"A neurosurgeon had to examine him."

Mrs Mills picked her husband up from hospital last night.

She said: "I feel very angry. I have spent a lot of time and effort helping young people in this community."

She remembered a huge explosion at her home on Saturday as youths pushed the firework through her letterbox into the hallway.

Mr Mills, who had been feeling unwell, went outside looking for the culprits.

No damage was caused to the house but Mr Mills suffered a severe beating.

Police confirmed Mr Mills had been knocked to the ground and repeatedly punched and kicked.

Mrs Mills said: "He doesn't remember much except putting his arm up to protect his head and face."

He sustained bruising to his face and body and cuts to his lip, eyebrow and to the one side of his face.

The attack happened between 7pm and 7.30pm and four teenager boys were later arrested and bailed until November 15, pending further inquiries.