A woman and two young children have been left traumatised after watching a "ferocious" attack on a Co Antrim man unfold before their eyes.
The terrified witnesses watched on in horror as a number of men forced their way into a house in Larne in the early hours of yesterday morning.
The victim was then beaten with bats and pick-axe handles inside the property at St John's Place.
The victim sustained a number of injuries, including a suspected broken leg, and is currently receiving treatment in hospital.
Detective Inspector Conor McStravick described the assault which happened at around 2.30am as "ferocious and inhumane", adding: "We believe at this time that the men left the area in a vehicle following the attack."
Larne councillor Andrew Wilson condemned the "sickening" assault and branded the perpetrators "thugs".
"It is disgusting that a small element in society stoop to this level of violent mob rule," he said.
"There is only one legitimate arbitrator of the rule of law and that is the PSNI - I have confidence they will apprehend whatever group of thugs were responsible for this sickening attack."
Police have appealed for anyone who witnessed the incident or any suspicious activity in the area, or who has any information which could assist with their enquiries, to contact detectives in Ballymena on 101.