A COMMUTER was viciously punched in the head during an attempted mugging while he was on his way home from Leigh station.

The 27-year-old, from Hadleigh, who did not want to be named, got off the train from London to Leigh about 6.40pm before making his way up Belton Hill steps.

He told the Echo: “As I walked up the steps, which I’ve noticed are not well lit since they have been re-done, I took the side steps that branch off towards Hadleigh.

“I saw a group of four people wearing black clothing standing in a box shape.

“I thought they looked a bit shady and I then heard one of them say ‘are we doing this or what?’.

“I realised what they were planning so I stopped and got my phone out to make it look as if I was taking a phone call.

“I turned my back to them and noticed other people were making their way up the steps. I hoped that by stalling, there would be witnesses should anything happen.

“As I looked back towards the group of what looked like teenagers, they started walking down towards me - that’s when one of them punched me in the side of the head and they tried to take my phone.”

The teenagers got spooked and fled the scene.

The victim, who was also wearing dark clothing, uses the steps daily when commuting to and from London.

He added: “They didn’t even run off, they just walked. No one seemed to have even seen the incident which probably didn’t help by the fact it was pitch black.

“The incident has left me in shock and I am now scared to use those stairs. I have contacted the council about the lighting and no one seemed to be able to point me in the right direction.”

A spokesman for Essex Police, said: “We are investigating following reports of an attempted robbery in Belton Way, Leigh, shortly before 6.45pm on Tuesday.

“A man reported howa group of teenagers had attempted to rob him of his phone near to the top of the steps opposite Leigh railway station.

“The four boys involved, believed to be between the ages of 15 and 19, were all wearing black clothing. Three have been described as being mixed race, and the fourth boy was white. Officers searched the area and passed on information to our colleagues in the British Transport Police.

“Anyone with information is asked to call 101 and quote incident 976 of October 8.”