POLICE are searching for a man in his 60s after an assault on an elderly man left him with two cracked ribs in a West Swindon pub.

The incident is thought to have happened shortly before Christmas at the Freshbrook Village Centre. Around 9.30pm on December 22 the victim, a 77-year-old man, was punched repeatedly and sustained serious bruising and swelling to his face.

The elderly man, who has suffered heart problems and a stroke in the past, was knocked to the ground and cracked two of his ribs.

It is not yet known what caused the pub fracas, and police have been conducting enquiries locally to try to identify the culprit. CCTV images have identified a local man in his 60s whom officers want to speak to as part of the investigation, but attempts to locate him have so far drawn a blank.

Residents in Freshbrook have recognised the man, who has been spotted wearing a distinctive black cowboy hat, but none has been able to identify him, and he has not been seen in the area since the assault.

Officers are appealing for anyone who may be able to identify the man from the CCTV footage or who could shed more light in the incident.

PC Steve Yeates, community beat manager for Freshbrook and Toothill, said the offence was extremely unusual because it involved two elderly men in a pub brawl.

“This is a very unusual situation and we need the help of the public to detect this offender,” he said.

“What is so unusual is that it involved two elderly gentlemen. We do not know what started the incident, and we have been conducting enquiries with the pub to ascertain what happened.

“A male assaulted a 77-year-old stroke victim by punching him four or five times to the face and causing him to fall to the ground.

“The injured party suffered two cracked ribs and bruising and swelling to his face as a result of the attack.

“The offence occurred at 9.30pm on December 22 last year at the Windmill pub in the Freshbrook Village Centre.

“All enquiries so far have been negative. Lots of people local to the area recognise this male due to a distinctive black leather cowboy-style hat that he wears, but nobody knows his name or where he lives.

“Since this incident nobody has seen this male in the area and all lines of enquiry have come to nothing. We would ask anyone who recognises this man or knows where he lives to contact us.”

If you recognise the male pictured in the CCTV image, contact PC Yeates at the West Swindon neighbourhood policing team via non-emergency number 101, quoting crime reference number 54140117329.