Detectives are appealing for information following an allegation of rape in Colchester.

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Police were contacted shortly after 3.30pm on Tuesday, December 17 following reports that a 42-year-old local woman was sexually assaulted on a footpath between Chariot Drive, Gryphon Road and Berechurch Road at approximately 8.30pm on Monday, December 16.

The woman has since spent several hours with specially-trained officers, recalling detail from Monday evening. She is now recovering at home with family and friends.

Investigating Officer, DI Terry Balding, said: “At this stage, we’re looking to speak with any dog-walkers who were in the area between 8-9pm on Monday, bus drivers travelling along the Berechurch Road route and taxi drivers who may have been picking up or dropping off any revellers or commuters.

“If they saw this woman or a man in this 100m grassland area triangle, then we need to hear from them.”

The suspected assailant is described as white, approximately 5ft 5ins tall, is of stocky build, has short, dark-brown hair and is south European-looking.

In light of the festive holiday season, police are conscious of office parties and evenings out so are issuing safety advice to all late-night revellers.

Neighbourhood Policing Insp Barry Atkinson said: “We would again remind people of some basic personal security when out and about late at night. If you’re returning from a Christmas party in the town and you live in the suburbs, then our advice is to get a taxi. If you live in the town centre, then try to walk as a group when returning home.

“Although it has been reasonably warm of late, we would just advice people going out for the festive celebrations to wear appropriate warm clothing so that they don’t suffer later on in the evening and increase the chances of getting ill.”

Anyone with information in connection with this rape allegation is urged to contact detectives at Colchester’s Sexual Offences Investigation Team on 101, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or email the incident room at SOIT @essex.pnn.police.uk.

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