Multiple sexual offences reported by women in Blackburn as CCTV appeal launched

A number of sexual offences have been reported in Blackburn in just over 24 hours, prompting an urgent police investigation.

Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 6:50 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 6:52 pm

Detectives are investigating a number of incidents in Blackburn in which a man has attempted to grab multiple women in Blackburn.

Police said there have been "coordinated efforts to identify the suspect," but no arrests have been made at this stage.

Det Insp John McNamara, of East CID, said: "These incidents are worrying in nature and we have a number of resources committed to locating and arresting the offender."

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A woman was sexually assaulted after she was approached by a man who asked her for a lighter in Whalley Old Road at around 5.55am yesterday (October 11).

The woman rang 999 following the assault but the man continued to follow her, police said.

The call handler managed to direct a passing patrol car to her location, but the suspect escaped the area "despite a number of patrols quickly attending the area."

Shortly after 5.45am today (October 12), police were called to Cathedral Square after a woman reported being grabbed by a man as she was walking to work.

Do you recognise this man? Police want to speak to him in connection with an ongoing investigation into a number of incidents in Blackburn (Credit: Lancashire Police)

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Officers said the victim managed to fight the man off before screaming and running to a place of safety.

The incident happened in an alleyway between Blackburn Cathedral and Blackburn Market.

At 9.21, a man reportedly exposed himself to a woman in East Park Road before verbally threatening her.

Five minutes later, a woman reported seeing a man staring at her as he was walking in her direction in West Park Road.

As she stood aside to let him pass, he brushed up against her and then walked off.

"Although we are still working to understand the suspect's behaviour, we realise the public will be concerned by it," Det Insp John McNamara added.

"Reassurance patrols have been increased in the areas affected and they will continue in the coming days."

Police urged residents not to approach the man in the CCTV images, but to call 999 immediately.

For non-immediate sightings, or if you have any information which may help police with their investigation, call 101 quoting log LC-20211012-0200.

Information can also be reported online at doitonline.lancashire.police.uk.

Alternatively, independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via crimestoppers-uk.org.

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