Force helicopter hunting for attacker

CLOSED A PCSO stands guard of the shut footpath
CLOSED A PCSO stands guard of the shut footpath

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POLICE are hunting a man who indecently assaulted a woman in Leigh Park.

A police helicopter has been flying over the estate this morning as officers search for the suspect.

Hampshire Constabulary received a call at 8.43am to the High Lawn Way area.

A woman aged in her 20s had been assaulted by a man while walking on a footpath through Great Copse Woods between High Lawn Way and Dunsbury Way.

She was punched and kicked by the man who also indecently touched her.

The woman was able to get away from her attacker. She was left upset and shaken, but is not seriously injured.

Searches are continuing for a suspect described as a white man, aged in his 20s, of pale complexion, about 5ft 7in tall, of muscular build, and with short, light blonde hair.

He was wearing a yellow T-shirt and blue jeans.

Chief Inspector Alison Heydari, Havant and Waterlooville District Commander, said: ‘Specialist officers are working with the woman to establish the full details of what happened this morning.

‘At this time, this is the only assault of this nature reported to us in Leigh Park recently. It is not being linked to any other crimes.

‘House-to-house enquiries are being carried out and I would like to thank members of the public who have given us useful information.

‘We are particularly keen to hear from anyone who saw a man matching the suspect description in the High Lawn Way and Dunsbury Way area before 9am this morning (Friday).

‘Officers from our local Safer Neighbourhoods teams have been visiting schools nearby today to advise and reassure staff and parents. There is no evidence to suggest any specific risk to schools or children. Our advice is to be alert but not alarmed.

‘High visibility police patrols to reassure the community and encourage further information will continue this evening and over the weekend.

‘The scene of the assault remains sealed off for ongoing enquiries and direct appeals among people using this area.’

Schools in the area were informed about the assault as a precaution.

Mum-of-two Katy Worthington, 31, whose children attend Riders Infant and Junior School, received a text this morning reporting an incident had happened in the local area and to collect their children as normal at 3pm.

She said: ‘It makes me scared. I’m worried an anxious. It’s the fact that the children could be at risk.’

A staff member at the school said: ‘The school is open as normal.

‘We have sent to a text to parents as a precaution – nothing more than that.’

Police are appealing for information. Anyone with information should call 101.

Alternatively, call the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111 if you wish to remain anonymous.