A MAN was hit around the head with a piece of wood and pushed into the canal in a “shocking” attack.

The 49-year-old suffered a 7cm gash to the back of his head when he was set upon by three men on the towpath off Rewley Road.

The victim, who asked not to be named for fear of repercussions, said yesterday: “It could easily have been worse. It is very easy to drown in water if you have been hit on the head.”

The Oxford man said he was delivering a generator to a canal boat when the men confronted him near Isis Lock at 9.20pm on Friday, August 23.

He said one of the men took his glasses off him before striking him with the wood.

He said: “He removed my glasses quite carefully and threw them on the ground.

“I was pushed into the canal and there were threats made against my life.

“He was very confrontational and aggressive. There was no reason.”

“I am concerned the police have not yet caught these guys.”

Another man was also repeatedly punched in the head when he tried to help the first victim.

Susanna Pressel, Oxford City Council member for Jericho & Osney, said the attack was “rare and shocking” as the towpath was usually a safe place.

She said: “It sounds horrible. It’s a dreadful attack and I hope the police find out who did it.”

She said she has made requests to install lighting in that area but said there was no electricity supply. She also said it could encourage people to hang around there.

But she added: “People use the route after dark and if lighting would help it should be put in.”

Police described the attackers as Asian and in their 30s. They said the main suspect was about 6ft tall, of a strong build, and had a broad face with a thin moustache.

The other attackers were said to be about 5ft 8ins tall.

All three were carrying luggage which was described by police as large red, white and blue plastic woven bags.

Investigating officer PC Charlie Pollard said: “This was a nasty and totally unprovoked attack.”

She appealed for anyone with information to call her on 101, adding: “The luggage these men were carrying is very distinctive, so we are hopeful that someone will recognise this description.

“I urge anyone who remembers anything to come forward.”