AN NHS worker has had an acid-like substance poured over his car in what he suspects is a targeted homophobic attack.

Greg Mahony, 33, lives on Port Seton’s Laburnum Avenue with his husband, 41-year-old web designer Andy Pielorz.

He described the attack on his grey Honda Civic, which took place at 1.15am on Monday morning, as a hate crime.

CCTV footage, he said, showed a young man in a hoody and mask, with only his eyes visible, walking round the corner directly to his car and pouring an acid or paint stripper-like substance over the front of the vehicle, onto the bonnet and roof, before walking away.

Greg recently saved up and paid to have his car’s roof painted black – the substance poured onto the car has damaged the paintwork and caused several parts of it to peel off.

He said the attacker directly targeted this new work.

Greg and Andy woke up on Monday morning and were going to take their rescue dog Rocco out on a walk when they discovered the damage to the car.

Talking about the attack, Greg told the Courier: “We are very upset and really scared.

“Our car was the only one targeted in the whole street.

“We want to know what we have done wrong.

“We are very distressed. We have been crying on the phone to family.

“My main concern and the most important thing is sleep. I’m worried this will affect my sleep and then my work will be affected and I’m worried they will come back. I am also worried about my dog.

“There are good people in the community that have sent some good messages but sadly there is just that smaller minority that do some bad things. We just hope it doesn’t happen again.

“I’ve been trying to be a part of the community and chat to people. I don’t want any problems. I’ve never caused any problems.”

Greg works beside the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh and arranges for BSL (British Sign Language) interpreters to assist patients who are deaf and in hospital receiving treatment; he also deals with the admin and arranges the interpreters’ pay.

He has asthma and has been working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Greg also owns his own business, which helps older people, disabled people and those who are unable to walk their dogs, cut their grass and clean up dog mess from their gardens.

He added: “Work has been so stressful and busy recently but I’m doing really well.

“This just causes unnecessary stress and is not needed.

“It’s just not nice and we wonder why they did it to us. Is it because we are a gay couple?

“Sadly, several NHS staff have been victims of crime recently.

“We are also going through the adoption process as we want to adopt or foster a child and start our own family – this is extra stress we don’t need.”

Greg said he was obtaining quotes to see how much the damage would cost to repair. Estimates at the moment are about £350, money he cannot afford to continue paying should a similar attack happen again.

He said: “It might not seem a lot of money but I’m going to struggle on my current wage and might need to claim it on the insurance.”

Sadly, this is not the first time Greg and Andy have been subject to issues and homophobic attacks.

In the past their driveway has been blocked which has left Greg unable to get to work, an issue he had to report to the police.

He said: “Things like going to work became difficult.

“A neighbourhood watch was set up [in my area] which isn’t supported by the police, it’s a lot of young guys in their cars driving around and looking for trouble.

“I said on Facebook I didn’t support it as it is not supported by the police and I had a lot of nasty messages on Facebook from that.”

He has also had eggs and cigarette butts thrown into his garden.

Greg added that he knows of gay friends nearby who have had their windows smashed.

He said: “Sadly these types of things still happen in our community.”

When asked what he would say to the attacker, Greg said: “We’re really disappointed that you would do this, it is not what this community is about.

“We live in a really nice area and these things should not be happening.

“It’s a very personal thing to strip the paint off a car like that.”

He added: “We are shocked and really upset.

“I just hope we catch the person who did this and I’ll do everything I can to bring justice.”

Jeff Ingold, head of media at Stonewall, an LGBT support group, said: “It’s upsetting to hear what’s happened here, and is made worse by the possibility that this man may have been targeted because he’s gay.

“The fact is we’re still not living in a society where every LGBT person is free to be themselves and live without fear of discrimination and abuse.

“Our 2017 research revealed that one in five LGBT people (20 per cent) have experienced a hate crime or incident because of who they are in the last year.

“We would encourage anyone who’s experienced a hate crime to report it, and we’re working with police services up and down the country to help LGBT people feel more confident to do so.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Around 11:40am on July 13, police received a report of a car being damaged in Laburnum Avenue and enquiries are ongoing.”