Police link 20 accostings across north Essex and urge children not to go out alone
- Credit: Archant
Detectives investigating a series of accostings in Clacton now believe there could have been 20 offences over the past four years, in Clacton, Colchester and Elmstead Market, which are all linked.
Police are also advising children not to go out alone.
The investigation began in October when two boys were approached separately on the same day by a man acting inappropriately, followed by two further offences the following week.
There have been no further incidents since then.
But a review of files suggests there could be 18 offences in total in Clacton, with two more in Colchester in August last year.
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Detective Inspector Leighton Hammett said: “I am particularly interested in these offences in Colchester as the victims gave a good description of the suspect and also provided details of a very distinctive jacket he was wearing.
“In the first offence on Wednesday August 25 2013 a man indecently exposed himself to a 14-year-old boy in Longridge, Colchester at 8.30am while he was on his paper round.
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“He is described as a white man, aged 40 to 60, with brown receding hair, 6ft tall, of stocky build, wearing black trousers and a red Columbia ski jacket.
“The next day another 14-year-old boy on his paper round was approached by a man in Bromley Road, Elmstead Market, at 9.20am. Again the suspect indecently exposed himself and he was wearing a red Columbia ski jacket with a grey zip and smart black trousers and shoes.
Both these offences took place in the height of summer and the jacket would have looked out of place. If you remember seeing this man or know someone who has a jacket like it and matches the descriptions given then I would like to hear from you.”
Police patrols are continuing in the area of the latest offences to provide reassurance.
DI Hammett added: “I would urge people to remain vigilant and make sure their children do not speak to strangers and that they understand the importance of telling a responsible person immediately if they are approached. It is then vital to call Essex Police on 101 as soon as possible or, if the offender is believed to be close by, then use 999.
“I would also ask parents to make sure their children do not go out alone and they know where they are at all times.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Clacton CID on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.