A MAN is wanted by police after a taxi driver was grabbed by the beard while driving in Grays.

Police have released CCTV images of the man wanted in connection with the assault.

It happened on October 6 in Arterial Road, Grays at around 5.45am. Whilst the man was driving his taxi, someone grabbed him by the hair and beard, holding on until the victim pulled over and came to a stop.

He was then given a torrent of verbal abuse.

Police constable Jack Emerson said: “The abuse shouted at the victim was about his country of origin and we are treating this as a hate crime.

"We want to identify the man in these CCTV images, as well as a man who was walking his dog along Arterial Road at the time.

“The incident unfolded in front of the witness with the dog, and we believe this man called another taxi company to arrange for the man to be collected and taken to the Enfield area.

"We appreciate these images are dark, but we think someone may still recognise the man in them”

The man who assaulted the victim is described as white, early to mid-50s, of large, muscular build and had short ginger or blonde hair.

He was wearing dark blue jeans, a white t-shirt and brown shoes.

Anyone with information should call PC Emerson on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.