A MINICAB driver has spoken of a terrifying rope attack that left him in fear of his life.

Private hire firm driver Sayed Akbari said he was targeted by three passengers who coiled a rope around his neck and made off with £90 in cash, keys and electronics.

Sayed, 28, from West Swindon, picked up the three men from Cricklade Road, near Poplar Avenue, on Sunday at 10.30pm.

The trio asked to be taken to the Supermarine Sports and Social Club, in South Marston.

But when they arrived, Sayed was told to drive around to the back of the club.

He said: “They had a rope. They put it on my neck and they were swearing. They took my phone and change and PDA.”

As they held they pulled the rope tighter around his neck, Sayed scrabbled to keep it from choking him.

“I was fighting for my life,” said Sayed, who has been a minicab driver of three years. “My life was in danger.

“I was very, very lucky to take the rope from my neck. If I hadn’t I would be dead.”

He managed to break free and ran from the car. The men stole about £90 in change, keys, a taxi monitor and his phone, before they made off in another car that had been following Sayed’s cab.

The car, described as either a Vauxhall or a Ford, was the gang’s getaway vehicle.

And when the trio left the scene, the group left behind a “heavy” bag in Sayed’s car.

Sayed, who was born near Kabul, Afghanistan, and came to the UK as a teenage refugee, says he was fearful of a gun or a knife in the bag but police have so far not confirmed the contents.

The attack left dad-of-one Sayed shaken. He said: “My family’s worried. My wife didn’t sleep last night.”

He added: “This is normal. That attack, that’s the third time it’s happened.”

He claims that two of his friends have been attacked, with one being “roped” in Cheney Manor.

Sayed says he wants more support for drivers from the authorities, claiming that crimes against minicab and taxi drivers get little public attention.

“We’re taking people home safely,” he said. “But we need support from the police, we need support from the council.”

Wiltshire Police said that a 54-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender. The man has been released under investigation.

“Our inquiries are continuing at this time,” a police spokeswoman said.

Anyone with information about the attack should call Wiltshire Police on 101 or anonymously, via Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.