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Kent Police has identified the person responsible for several sightings of someone wearing a mask in the area around Canterbury Christchurch University last week.
A 15-year-old boy has been helping police with their enquiries after voluntarily coming forward. He has confirmed being the person seen by CCTV cameras walking through the city on the evening of Wednesday 9 October and also the other reports of sightings on Wednesday, Thursday (10 Oct) and Saturday (12 Oct).
Officers have eliminated him from their main investigation which centres on an isolated incident on Friday 11 October when a 19-year-old woman was allegedly followed and grabbed by a man wearing a mask in the Longport/St Martin?s Hill area.
There are currently no independent witnesses to this incident and officers are appealing for anyone with information to contact them.
The suspect was described as white, 5ft 11in tall, of skinny build, wearing a black hooded top, dark jeans and a white ?V for Vendetta? mask similar to the one seen in the CCTV images.
There have been several other sightings of people wearing masks, but no further incidents where physical contact has been made.
As Chief Inspector Mark Arnold explains, most reports of people wearing masks can be explained as part of the run up to Halloween and Bonfire night : "A number of local shops in Canterbury have been selling the 'V' for Vendetta masks in the past several weeks and dozens have been sold."
Take practical steps to stay safe -
· stick to well-lit and busy areas, particularly at night - avoid shortcuts through isolated areas
· avoid travelling alone at night travel with others or book a licensed taxi before you go.
· plan your route before you go and let others know where you're going and when you'll be home
· look and act confidently - look like you know where you are going, 'walk tall'
· if possible, spread your valuables around your person (ie keep your phone in a bag, your house keys in a pocket and your money in a jacket)
· try not to be conspicuous about the valuables you are carrying - talking on your mobile, carrying a laptop or showing your friends your new jewellery all show thieves you are worth robbing
· if you use a wheelchair, keep your belongings beside you rather than at the back of your chair
· be alert to what's going on around you. For example, when out walking or jogging, don't listen to MP3 players through headphones
· wear bright or reflective clothing so you can be seen
· don't accept a lift from someone you don't know, an unregistered taxi or from anyone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
· if you think you're being followed, head towards a busy area and tell someone. If needed, call the police.