A VULNERABLE man was attacked for his cigarettes by a would-be robber outside a day centre in Vange.

Essex Police is appealing for anyone who saw the “very nasty attack” on Saturday (SEP15) to come forward.

It happened at 1pm outside Valerie Lodge, in High Road, Vange.

An Essex Police spokesman said the suspect demanded a cigarette from the victim and when he refused he put his hand to the victim’s neck and pushed him to the floor, trying to steal cigarettes.

The attacker is described as aged up to about 40, approximately 5ft 4inches tall, muscular with short grey hair with long sideburns and a goatee beard.

He was wearing Army-style combat trousers and a white t-shirt.

He followed the victim towards Pitsea High Street.

Det Con Matt Wigg, of Basildon CID, said: “The victim was extremely distressed by this nasty attack, and may take a long time to get over it.

“Please help us find whoever did this, not least to stop it happening again.”

If you saw this incident, or think you may recognise the description of the attacker, contact Det Con Wigg on 101.

Alternatively you can pass information on anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.