Police are appealing to a key witness who may have prevented a road rage incident from turning into a shooting.

An anonymous good samaritan pulled up alongside a 26-year-old man who was being threatened inside his car at gunpoint by a gang at some traffic lights in Barkingside.

Police believe his presence may have frightened them away.

The incident occurred between 1.20am and 1.45am last Monday, September 8 when the victim from Ilford was driving his silver Ford Mondeo along Horns Road, behind the vehicle containing the three men.

The Ilford man overtook the car after it pulled over but when he stopped at a red light, the gang of three men got out of their car and ran towards him.

A police spokeswoman said: "They ran towards the victim's door and pulled it open before grabbing the victim around the throat and trying to strangle him.

"Another of the suspects tried to get into the driver's seat but the victim managed to grab his clothing and push him off. At this point the victim noticed the first of his attackers holding something in his hand he believed was a gun.

"The other two accomplices were shouting to him 'do it, do it, go on, kill him,' but fortunately another vehicle pulled up and on seeing the vehicle, the suspects got into their vehicle and drove off."

The man drove off after the thugs left the scene, but he may hold vital information for police.

All three of the gang were white men, aged around 23 and were driving an orange Peugeot, registration X221.

The first was about 5ft tall and was wearing a black top and bottoms, while the second was around 5ft 7ins tall and was wearing black trousers and a white top. The third of the trio wore a white top and black bottoms.

Any witnesses, especially the motorist who pulled over, should contact DC Jerry Phillips at Ilford CID on 8345 2710.