Pepper spray attack on Gants Hill pensioner

Three men who peppersprayed a 72-year-old outside a bank returned to attack him a second time when they realised they had only stolen his bus pass.

The victim had been to Barclays in Cranbrook Road, Gants Hill, at 11.45am on Tuesday to withdraw some cash.

He was then attacked from behind by the gang who blinded him with pepper spray and went through his pockets looking for money.

When they realised they had only taken his bus pass, they returned, pushing him to the ground before finally running off.

His son Syad Ali, 32, of Gants Hill, said: “It’s disgusting that it takes three men to take on a 72-year-old guy. I believe they were watching him as he put his hand in his top pocket and they thought he had put his money there.”

His father, who did not want to be named, said he was attacked by three black males aged between 15 and 19.

He said two were 5ft 10in and the youngest about 5ft 8in, who was wearing jeans and a blue top.

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“My father was going to get the bus home but it didn’t stop,” Mr Ali said. “They sprayed something in his face. The police said it was pepper spray because of the symptoms.”

After the attack his father went to a nearby shop to ask for help and the police and ambulance service were called.

“My dad has a limp and can’t walk properly,” Mr Ali said. “He said that if they’d come back a third time he would not have been able to struggle again. The man in the shop calmed him down. He’s a strong guy but he was very shaken up.”

Mr Ali said he had been told by police that similar incidents of pensioners being targeted in the area had been reported over the past week.

•Did you see what happened? Do you know who attacked the 72-year-old? Call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.