Pictured: Man wanted by police after teenage girl was attacked by man near to Preston Guild Hall

This is the man police are treating as a suspect over a sex attack on an 18-year-old woman in Preston city centre
This is the man police are treating as a suspect over a sex attack on an 18-year-old woman in Preston city centre

This is the man detectives in Preston are hunting in connection with a serious sexual assault on a young woman in the city centre.

Officers say they are treating the man in the CCTV footage as a suspect in the attack.

The incident occurred at around 4:20am on Sunday (September 22) when the victim, 18, has become separated from her friends and has walked along Lancaster Road from Church Street.

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The victim had reached the junction with Harris Street at the side of Sessions House when she met a man.

After a brief interaction, they have walked onto Lord Street, where the woman was attacked on a grassed area.

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The attacker then walked off but returned to the area a few minutes later and tried to talk to the victim. He then headed back on to Lancaster Road.

Following enquiries, officers believe he may have approached other women in the city centre during the evening and early hours.

Det Insp Fiona Jackson said: “It is important that we find this man as soon as possible and so I am asking anyone who may have seen him or knows who he is, to contact us immediately.

“We know that roughly between 3am and 5am, he has been walking around the city centre and has headed towards the train station where he stayed for a short while.”

Nightsafe patrols will be in the city centre over the weekend and so we are encouraging anyone who has concerns about their safety or thinks they have seen this man to approach them.

Det Insp Jackson added: “We know that attacks of this type are rare and whilst we want people to carry on and enjoy their nights out, we are still asking them to remain vigilant, consider their personal safety and remain in groups of friends.”

The suspect is described as possibly Asian, around 5ft 6ins to 5ft 8ins, of medium build with a stubbly beard and dark, spiky, fluffy hair.

He was wearing a light coloured jacket.

Anyone with information can call 01772 209702 or if you fail to get an answer, 101, quoting incident reference 323 of September 22nd.

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