Police hunt Tarka Trail attacker

POLICE in North Devon are appealing for information from the public following three reported assaults on women on or around the Tarka Trail. The first incident happened at around 5.30 pm on Thursday, December 3, and involved a woman in her 40s on the Tar

POLICE in North Devon are appealing for information from the public following three reported assaults on women on or around the Tarka Trail.

The first incident happened at around 5.30 pm on Thursday, December 3, and involved a woman in her 40s on the Tarka Trail near the Ethelwynne Brown Close housing development at East -The -Water, Bideford.

The victim was walking her dog when she was approached from behind by a man who grabbed her bottom and then ran off.

The second incident was around 8 pm on Monday, December 7, when a teenager was in Old Barnstaple Road, East -The -Water. She was also approached from behind. The attacker grabbed her chest, but she screamed and he ran off.


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The third victim, a 19-year-old woman, was in the car park of the old railway station in Bideford at around 1a.m. on New Years Day. She was also approached from behind by a man who grabbed her over her clothing. He was disturbed and ran from the scene.

All the victims have described the suspects as being young and wearing a hoodie.

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Detective Inspector Dave Atkinson said: "In view of the type of offence and where they happened, I believe that all three offences are linked. I am appealing for anyone with any information to come forward. Perhaps they have seen a man hanging about on the trail in the last month or have concerns about someone's behaviour.

"We are increasing patrols in the area, but I would advise anyone going to these areas at night to take sensible precautions. Take a phone with you and be aware of what is going on around you. If you see anyone acting suspiciously or anything you are not happy with, avoid the area and contact the police."

"Anyone with any information is asked to call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 quoting crime reference CD/10/11.

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