A YOUNG boy on a bike was randomly punched in the face by a man.

Colin Keeble has spoken of his horror after his 11-year-old son Daniel was attacked by a thug, aged between 30 and 40-years-old, when out cycling in the park near Coathill Path, Basildon.

Daniel was punched in his left eye so hard, it resulted in swelling around his eye socket and face.

The man then walked away as Daniel, who was clearly in pain, went home badly shaken up by the incident.

Mr Keeble, 38, said: “Daniel was out riding his bike with a lot of his friends, and this man was walking by and began shouting at him, telling him to watch where he was riding.

“Daniel stopped because he was scared, and this man just straight up punches him in the face and then carried on walking.

“There were lots of other kids there who saw it. Daniel rode across the field and told his mother who then called 999.

“He said to us he thought the man was aged between 30 and 40 years old.

“He was a proper adult that’s attacked a child for no reason.

“Daniel was left really shaken by it, he had a massive swell on his face, but hopefully he has managed to avoid any lasting physical damage.”

The incident took place at about 4.20pm last Thursday.

Mr Keeble, a former police officer who now works as a contracts manager, said his son has since become too scared to go out on his own, and worries if the incident will leave any lasting psychological effects on Daniel.

He said: “Daniel’s doing ok, he’s a strong lad, I brought him into work with me on Friday. He is clinging to me at the moment, he didn’t want to go out by himself.

“We hope this won’t have a long-term effect on his confidence. I’m absolutely disgusted, but I’m trying to make light of it as much as I can, I don’t want him to know how angry I am.

“I told him that he survived an attack from a fully grown man, so he can survive anything.

“It disgusts me that there’s a man like that walking around freely and attacking children.”

Essex Police have launched an appeal to find the man. A spokesman said: “The man was described as being quite tall with short, brown hair, was wearing an Arsenal kit and carrying an orange bag.

An Essex Police spokesman said: “The boy was understandably upset but fortunately did not require hospital treatment.

We understand how distressing this must have been for the victim and he did the right thing by getting himself to a place of safety and reporting the incident to us.”

He added: “As we were content that he was not at any further risk of harm and did not believe the man to still be in the area, we did not attend at the time, but are continuing to investigate the assault.”

Call 101 quoting incident 850 of May 23.