Great-granddad Brian Cousins was left badly bruised as he fought to save his van when two yobs jumped in and tried to drive off.
The brave 70-year-old struggled with the door as the pair managed to pull the driver out of his seat and gain back control of his van.
But despite his courage the attack has left Mr Cousins shaken and his worried family has taken the decision for him to give up his job.
Mr Cousins, who has four children, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, explained how he wasn’t willing to give up his van to the thieves easily.
Brian, who made rounds in Bradford, West Yorks., said: “I’d just delivered some milk to a house and got half way back to the van when these lads whizzed in from nowhere and jumped in it.
“I could see what was happening and I ran like hell, tripped over and crashed into the side of it. But I got hold of the door handle and pulled it open.”
Mr Cousins, from Birstall, near Leeds, West Yorks., continued: “There was a bit of a struggle but I managed to yank the door open. I was shouting and screaming for them to get out.
“I got hold of the driver and pulled him out. We had a scuffle and I threw him down the yard. I jumped in and the lad still in the passenger seat jumped out. The other one was trying to get back in but I managed to get into gear and drove off.”
He added: “They’d been up to no good. They were all dressed in black, had hoods up and had scarves across their faces.”
Despite his ordeal, Mr Cousins carried on to finish his round.
Devastatingly, the attack is the second time Mr Cousins has suffered difficulty on the early morning streets after he was also set upon in September 2014.
He said that he did not report the latest attack to police because the statement he made after the first incident came to no avail.
Mr Cousins, who started his round at 11:30pm every day and delivered his last pint by 8am to 350 customers, said he was dismayed at having to give it up.
He said: “It’s a sad way to end 40 years. I’ve got customers over three generations. It’s the end of an era.
“I’ve been getting calls from my old customers and they are disgusted with their own community.”
Mr Cousins added: “When I got home and told my family it had happened again, the decision was made for me then and there that I would call it a day and wouldn’t be going back.
“They were worried it could cost me my life and so was I.
“Because I put up a fight, those lads might come back and lie in wait for me with more friends next time, beat me up and smash the van.”
Customers have flocked to pay tribute to Mr Cousins and his four-decade long service.
Janet Malik-Aziz said she misses the friendly chats she used to have with the milkman.
She said: “Mr Cousins has served the community for so long.
“It’s a disgrace that these thugs have made him give up a job he has loved.
“We all miss him and the chats we had.”
Now on the mend, Mr Cousins has been keeping busy with his duties as secretary of Comrades Working Men’s Club in his hometown.
He said: “I miss my old job and my customers but at least I’m still alive.”
Inspector Tom Horner, from Bradford West Neighbourhood Policing Team, said they were “concerned to hear about the matter”.
He said: “We will get in touch with this gentleman to see if we can take a statement from him and investigate what has taken place.
“A previous assault on him at the location from September 2014 was investigated and a 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of robbery.
“Unfortunately a prosecution could not be brought on that occasion for evidential reasons but I can pledge we will fully investigate any reports made to us and we will do all we can to deliver justice for victims.”
Former Bradford milkman, Sean Garvey, said he was shocked and sickened to hear what had happened to his fellow colleague.
Mr Gravey said: “I feel sick for him. He should be having a party to be rewarded for 40 years of serving a local community – he shouldn’t be forced out by thugs.
“Milkmen are the eyes and ears of communities. They are like watchmen, looking for people and him going will be a big loss to that area.
“I hope the idiots who tried to take Mr Cousins’ van are happy with themselves, they’ve cost their families and community dear.”