A TAXI driver was assaulted by a gang of three thugs in a brutal attack in Bolton.

The driver picked up a man, who had been waiting with a woman, outside the Travelodge Bolton Central River Street in the early hours of Saturday, April 10 at around 3.30am.

Only the man got into the taxi and during the journey the driver smelt drugs in the back of the car and told the passenger to stop taking them.

This led to an argument before the man told the driver he would get out at that current position, which was near Bar Lane in Astley Bridge.

But when the driver, who does not wish to be named, pulled over the passenger approached him from behind and started strangling him.

The driver managed to wrestle free of the man’s grasp but then saw two other men approaching his car.

One of them started kicking the car and the other opened a door and started attacking the driver, who got out of the car.

In a shocking show of violence, the three thugs punched the driver in the face and kicked him in the ribs before he managed to escape from them and get back into his car and drive away.

He drove to hospital after he suffered a swollen head and cheek as well as a black eye.

Damage was also caused to a wing mirror and another part of the vehicle.

The driver, who works for Metro Cars, describes the man he picked up and started the attack as white, mid 20s, of a slim build with dark hair.

He wore a black puffer type jacket and had a black man bag.

The victim was unable to get a close look at the other two men who attacked him.

A family member added: “I am shocked by what happened to him and I find it upsetting.

“He has worked as a taxi driver for 20 years and nothing as bad as this has happened to him.

“He is still sore from his injuries.”

Greater Manchester Police confirmed the force has received a report of an assault on Bar Lane in Bolton.

If you have any information contact police on 101 quoting reference number 3,099 of April 11.