A GANG of teenage thugs pushed a middle aged man into a canal and assaulted him, it has emerged.

The 50-year-old victim was walking along the towpath of the Kennet and Avon Canel next to Crane Wharf when he was approached by five teenage boys.

What happened next was a shocking incident where the group punched the frightened man and hurled him into the cold canal.

When the victim climbed out of the water, he was repeatedly punched and kicked.

A police spokesman said: "The victim sustained a cut to his forehead and bruising on his arms and legs.

"At around 11.45pm on Saturday, June 2, the victim was walking on the towpath of the Kennet and Avon Canal next to Crane Wharf off Kings Road when he was approached by five teenage boys.

"The victim was then punched and pushed into the canal. When he climbed out, he was punched and kicked by the group."

Officers investigating the shocking attack described the gang of teens as between 16 and 17 years old.

Three of the attackers were described as 5ft 8ins tall. One wore a t-shirt and dark jeans while another wore a white t-shirt with grey tracksuit bottoms.

The fourth thug was described as bean south Asian or Arabic and stocky. He had short dark hair which was spikey in the middle and possibly dyed.

The final boy was also 5ft 8 ins tall and was wearing a black t-shirt and dark jeans.

Police constable Graham Ammundsen, investigating, added: "This appears to have been an unprovoked attack by a group of boys which could have resulted in far more serious injuries.

"Pushing people into the water is clearly an extremely reckless thing to do, but to then assault the victim further when he climbed out is completely unacceptable.

"I believe this assault was witnessed by members of the public who were sitting on a bench outside Queens Road car park.

"I am appealing for witnesses to make contact with police on the non-emergency number 101. Likewise, if anybody recognises any of the descriptions of the offenders please come forward.

"Officers are investigating and working to identify the offenders."