A GRAYS man was strangled with a belt and punched in the face in a vicious street robbery.

The man, in his 40s, was walking to his car last night at around 8.50pm when two black men approached him.

They placed a belt around the victim's neck and then punched him in the face. He was then forced to take the men to his black Volkswagen Golf, where they demanded he hand over money. A three-figure sum of cash was stolen.

The assailants are thought to have escaped the scene in a silver vehicle travelling towards Purfleet.

The victim, who had parked at the junction of First Avenue and London Road, in West Thurrock, sustained swelling to his eye and a number of cuts to his face which required hospital treatment.

The suspects are described as being aged in their 20s and of muscular build. One was wearing a grey tracksuit top.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Dc James Boyce at Grays CID on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.