A STUDENT suffered a broken nose and cheekbone after being attacked by a mugger who followed him down the street asking for cigarettes then struck him from behind.
Arnab Chakraborty was left bleeding and unconscious on the ground while the thief rifled through his pockets to make off with his £500 mobile phone and cash.
The 23-year-old Indian, who came to the Capital from Kolkata to study, had been out with friends celebrating Diwali, the festival of lights, and was walking home through Leith when he was approached by the suspect.
The man, who was wearing a hat and a scarf over his face, asked for a cigarette then followed Mr Chakraborty along Leith Walk during the incident at 1.10am yesterday.
After about two minutes of asking the student questions, the man struck Mr Chakraborty on the back of the head with an unknown object in Haddington Place.
Passers-by later found Mr Chakraborty dazed and bleeding in the street and called an ambulance to take him to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where he also received seven stitches to a head wound.
Mr Chakraborty, who lives in Leith, said: “I had been at the Guchhi restaurant in Commercial Street celebrating Diwali and got out a taxi on Leith Walk to walk home. I had just passed the Tesco on Brunswick Place and was lighting a cigarette when this man came up to me and asked me for one.
“I told him I had none left but he didn’t believe me and started asking what was in my pockets. I walked off and he started following me. He even said there was a shop nearby where I could buy more cigarettes.
“He kept trying to talk to me, asking where I was from and where I was going. I tried to be polite but only answered “yes” or “no”. At one point he grabbed my arm when some men were passing and told me to stay away from them because he knew they were dangerous.
“I think he was waiting until no one was in the street then he hit me in the back of the head with something. I don’t know what he used, but it was a heavy object.
“My glasses flew off and I fell. Then he took my phone and £30.”
The suspect is described as white, 19 to 21-years-old, between 5ft 7in and 5ft 9in tall with a medium build. He was wearing a black and white hat, black scarf, black jacket and grey jogging bottoms.
Mr Chakraborty, who is in his third year studying hospitality management at Telford College and works part-time at the Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa, added: “I think I fainted for a while and was lying senseless. My face was covered in blood from my nose and I was shaking. I felt very shocked.
“Two women and two men came along the street and saw me. They got me tissues for the blood and the women phoned the police and ambulance.
“I have lived in Edinburgh for three years and always found it a safe and friendly place. I have a lot of Scottish friends here but this incident has made me more worried about going out at night by myself.
“I hope they catch whoever was responsible before it can happen to anyone else.”
A police spokesman said: “Anyone who recognises the description of the suspect or has any other information is asked to contact police.”