Brave Haydn Parsons continued his Argus paper round despite being viciously attacked after refusing to give a gang of thugs a free copy.

The 14-year-old had his nose broken when he was punched in the face by a group of youths in Burgess Hill. But he made sure all his 38 customers in the West Farm area of the town had their copies before going to hospital for X-rays where the full extent of his injuries was realised.

The incident has been reported to Haywards Heath police following the cowardly attack in Bayliss Crescent. Haydn, 14, a pupil at Warden Park School, Cuckfield, and an Army cadet was doing his evening round as usual on his bike before 5.30pm when he was set upon.

A group of youths demanded a free copy of the Argus from his shoulder bag but Haydn stuck to his guns and refused. He told them he would not give them a paper because they have to be counted and told them to go to the newsagent if they wanted a copy.

One of the group then punched him in the face, giving him a bloody nose and cutting his top lip. They laughed as Haydn got up and rode off. He knocked on the door of an Argus reader in The Pannett, who cleaned him up before riding back to his home in Tate Crescent to tell his mother, Jean, what had happened.

But within minutes, Haydn was back on the streets delivering the rest of his papers. He and his mother reported the incident to the police before going to the Princess Royal Hospital, Haywards Heath, where X-rays showed his nose had been broken.

His mother said: "He was very brave. He just told the boys who attacked him what anyone would say in the circumstances. I went with him on his round yesterday in case we saw the boys again. You can still see the blood on the pavement where he was hit. He has seen the boys around the area before and has a good description for the police."

Haydn, who plans a career as a chef or an electronics engineer, said: "This has not put me off delivering. It is a job I enjoy."

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