Appeal following two sexual offences in Runcorn Date published: 5th September 2019 2.02pm

Detectives investigating sexual offences in Runcorn are appealing for information and footage from members of the public.

Shortly after 10am today, Thursday 5 September, a man stood in a bus stop in Merlin Close exposed himself to a woman in her 60s.

The offender was white, around 5’ 3” tall and looked to be in his late 20s or early 30s. He was very slim and had messy dark hair described as a bowl cut with a fringe.

He also had large eyebrows and a boil or spot near his right eye and he was wearing a knee-length black coat, black bottoms and black trainers.

Less than an hour later a man fitting his description grabbed a woman in her 30s as she walked along Lodge Lane towards Runcorn Shopping City.

He pulled her into some bushes and attempted to sexually assault her.

The woman managed to fight him off and flee to the nearby police station.

Enquiries in relation to the two incidents are ongoing.

Detectives believe that the incidents are linked and are urging anyone who thinks that they may have witnessed, or have CCTV or dashcam footage of, anything that may help their investigation to come forward.

They also want to speak to anyone who believes that they may know the identity of the offender.

Detective Constable Dan Williams, of Runcorn Local Policing Unit (LPU), said: “The victims have understandably been left shaken up and are being supported by specialist officers.

“We believe that the same man committed the two offences.

“Understandably people will be concerned about what has happened and I would like to reassure residents that we are doing everything we can to identify and arrest the offender.

“We have stepped up patrols in the area and we are currently following a number of lines of enquiry.

“As part of these enquiries we are appealing for anyone who recognises the description of the offender and believes that they may know who he is to get in touch.

“The same goes for anyone who was in the areas where the offences took place and believes they may have witnessed something that may be relevant to our investigation.

“Perhaps you think you may have seen the offender or have CCTV or dashcam footage of him.

“If you think you can aid our investigation in any way please get in touch with the team here at Runcorn Police Station.”

Detective Inspector Nick Henderson, also of Runcorn LPU, added: “Incidents like these are rare and we are committed to doing everything we can to catch the man responsible and bring him to justice.

“We have additional officers on patrol, providing reassurance to the local community. Anyone with any issues or concerns is urged to speak to an officer.

“As always we urge people to follow basic safety advice when out and about – be vigilant when you are out alone, maintain an awareness of your surroundings and try to stick to well-lit areas.

“I also ask residents to report any suspicious activity by calling us on 101.”

Anyone with information or CCTV footage that may help the ongoing investigation should call Cheshire Constabulary on 101, quoting IML 505184 (Merlin Close incident) or IML 505208 (Lodge Lane incident), give the details via https://cheshire.police.uk/contact/general-enquiries or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Dashcam footage can be submitted online at www.cheshire.police.uk/advice-and-support/roads-and-vehicle-safety/submit-dashcam-footage.