Incident happened on Newry Canal on Saturday afternoon

A cyclist from Northern Ireland has told of how he was assaulted on a canal towpath by a man who attempted to steal his bike.

Paul Jeffcut said in a post on Facebook that the incident happened at around 4.45pm on Saturday as he was riding towards Scarva along the Newry Canal near Poyntzpass.

He wrote: “I was cycling along the canal path heading to Scarva when a stranger who was walking towards me jumped sideways across the path to block me.

“I slowed down. He grabbed at my handlebars. I pushed him away. He punched me in the ribs exactly where I’d had a major operation 15 months ago.

“I cycled on, shouting at him. He waved his fists at me. I called 999 and reported the incident.”

Mr Jeffcutt described the assailant as “about 6 feet tall, medium build, grey curly hair, clean shaven, aged 50-60, and was wearing a dark blue thigh-length padded coat and grey trousers.”

Replying later to messages from well-wishers, he said: “Thank you all for your concern and for sharing. I am shaken and a little sore but otherwise well.

“I cycle the towpath regularly and this episode won't stop me. I very much hope we can identify the culprit before he does something to someone else.”

Anyone who has information that may help police with their investigation is asked to call 101 and quote reference 981 of 19 January.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.