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Police issue sex assault warning

Police are warning of stranger danger

Officers investigating a serious sexual assault on an eight-year-old girl in Hatfield are linking it to four other incidents.

Parents and guardians are being urged to alert children to the dangers, particularly during the summer holidays.

The first assault was on an eight-year-old girl around 19:15 on Friday, July 7, in the underpass in Travellers Lane, Hatfield, near the junction with Drakes Way.

Police issued a description last week of a smartly-dressed white male who had approached the eight-year-old and her ten-year-old friend.

Detective Chief Inspector Mick Hanlon said the girls were approached by a man who claimed he needed to go to the toilet and asked if they could keep lookout for him.

Now, three other incidents have been reported in Hatfield, Harpenden and Markyate where a smartly dressed white male has approached children claiming he needs to use the toilet.

Police say the descriptions given are similar and those approached are of a similar age to the girl who was sexually assaulted in Hatfield.

The man, who has exposed himself in one of the incidents, is described as being aged between mid-20s and mid-40s. He is around 5ft 6ins and 5ft 10ins tall and is of average build.

Police say he is clean shaven, tanned, has brown hair with a bald patch on the top. He might be using hair gel or wax. His eyes have been described as blue, but also possibly light brown.

A number of witnesses have described him as well-spoken and police believe that he also smokes. He also wears aftershave or body spray.

He is smartly dressed and wears smart dark trousers. On one occasion, he wore a white long-sleeved shirt with blue vertical stripes that fade towards the bottom. On another, he wore a pink, long-sleeved shirt with a light blue tie. He is also described as wearing a white shirt with a blue checked pattern on it.

Police think he drives a silver Vauxhall Vectra, or similar vehicle and he also has access to a laptop computer, which is kept in a dark case.

Police want to hear from anyone who knows someone who fits the description. They think that because of his style of dress he might be a businessman or a sales person and that he possibly also works on weekends.

Officers would also like to hear from anyone whose child may have experienced a similar incident with a stranger fitting this description and claiming to need to go to the toilet.

Anyone with information should ring the incident room on 01707 354432. Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Police say that all information will be treated in the strictest confidence.

You can discuss this issue in this site's forum.

18 July 2006

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