Masked thugs hit a barber over the head with metal bar in a bid to steal his Rolex watch.

The 35-year-old manager was cutting a customer’s hair when two men wearing black balaclavas and gloves burst into AK Traditional Barbers, Western Road, Billericay.

They ran up to him and demanded he hand over his expensive designer watch.

When he refused, they repeatedly punched him in the face and hit him over his head with the pole.

It was only when his customer, a 65-year-old man, bravely pulled the balaclava off one of the robbers, they ran off empty-handed.

The manager, who asked not to be identified, said: “I was cutting hair and they walked in and asked me to hand over my watch.

“One of them was behind me and the other one was punching me in the face and tried to get the watch off my arm.

“I went down to the floor and managed to get up and punch them back as well.

“They had a metal bar and hit me over the head several times.

“It was very frightening.

“Everything happened so quick, it was all over in three minutes.

“These things shouldn’t happen. I don’t want it to happen to anyone else.”

He urged other shops and hairdressers to install CCTV systems to deter burglars and robbers from going inside.

He added: “I don’t know if they knew me or used to be a customer, but it seemed strange they came straight to me and knew I had a Rolex.”

After the attack, he was left with a black eye and cuts on his forehead and eye socket.

An Essex Police spokesman appealed for anyone with information about the attack, which happened just before 5pm on Thursday, to get in touch.