‘We are all very shocked’ - Hadleigh mayor reacts to second alleged rape in space of week

Suffolk police cordon at Grays Fish and Chips in Hadleigh

Suffolk police cordon at Grays Fish and Chips in Hadleigh - Credit: Su Anderson

A community is in shock today following the second sex attack to happen in a Suffolk town in the space of a week.

Residents of Hadleigh said they were anxious about the safety of the town after a 46-year-old woman reported being raped behind a chip shop.

Police yesterday arrested a 43-year-old man from Hadleigh in connection with the incident, which happened at about 12.30am on Saturday.

It followed another attack on a young girl less than half a mile away the previous weekend. The locations of the incidents are separated by the town’s swimming pool and St Mary’s Primary School.

One woman said her teenage daughter is scared to leave the house after hearing news of a second rape.

The latest incident happened in the car park behind Gray’s chip shop in Angel Street. It followed the rape of a teenage girl in Tayler Road, near the Yeoman Way junction, on Saturday, March 14. It is understood that police are not linking the two incidents.

Amanda Hart, of Joseph Close, said: “I am quite worried about it because I have a daughter who is nearly 16 and frightened to go out.

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“We live in the middle of the two. They used to go to the park and play but are trapped now because they tend to get anxious.

“We moved to Suffolk because we wanted our children to be safe.”

John Macey, who lives in Timperley Road, adjacent to the chip shop, said: “We didn’t hear anything but it is not very nice. It’s such a quiet place but if it has happened twice in a week now, who knows?”

Police are already investigating a rape in Tayler Road at about 9.30pm the previous Saturday.

Officers want to speak to a white man, in his early 20s, of medium build and clean shaven, around 5ft 7in and wearing dark blue jeans and a black Adidas hoodie.

They are not linking either of the attacks to another sex assault on a woman in Pykenham Way, Hadleigh, on New Year’s Eve.

One resident, a father-of-two who asked to be referred to only as Adam, said: “We can’t believe this has happened again in such a little amount of time. We’re absolutely flabbergasted. Everyone is in shock.”

Reverend Martin Thrower, dean of St Mary’s Church, offered support to anxious residents.

He said: “Our primary concern is to be around for people and listen to their concerns.

“It’s quite a small place really, and it’s quite compact so it doesn’t take too much to feel like you are quite close to the place where these happened.”

Sue Angland, mayor of Hadleigh, said: “We are all very shocked and concerned as it seems to be a second incident but I cannot say any more until I have more details.”

The man arrested yesterday on suspicion of rape has been released on police bail to return on May 6.

Anyone with information should contact police on 101.