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6 June 2014, 15:37
Police in Hatfield have begun an investigation into two sexual assaults in the town this week.
Officers are also issuing safety advice to women whilst efforts are made to identify the offender.
The first incident occurred on a footpath between Lemsford Lane and St Albans Road West, near to the junction with St Peters Close at 10pm on Monday (June 2). A woman, aged 20, was approached from behind by a man who struck her to the head and sexually assaulted her.
She pushed him off and he then ran away.
The second incident occurred in St Albans Road East at 10.10pm on Wednesday.
The victim, who was also aged 20, was walking through a footpath close to St Luke's Church listening to music using her earphones, when a man grabbed her, tripped her over, causing her to fall to the ground and sexually assaulted her. The victim shouted for help and he ran off.
Detective Superintendent, Pete Fulham said: "We believe these two incidents are linked due to the description of the offender and his clothing provided by both the victims in this case, combined with the timing and close proximities of the assaults within Hatfield Town Centre.
I can reassure Hatfield residents that the Constabulary has a team of detectives working hard to identify, trace and arrest the man responsible. We have also increased police patrols in the area to respond to possible sightings of him in order to catch the offender, protect the public and to reduce the potential of further similar incidents.
The offender was said to have spoken in a strong foreign accent and did not speak good English."
Supt Fulham added: "The man pictured may have vital information about what happened and I would urge the public to contact us immediately if they can identify him. He is wearing a distinctive white McKenzie sports jacket with darker coloured stripes.
I would also like to speak to anyone who believes they may have witnessed these incidents or has been approached by a man in the area in similar circumstances to contact us.
Whilst our investigations take place I would urge women and girls in the area to take note of some safety advice, including remaining alert when walking alone, being aware of your surroundings and sticking to busy, well lit areas."
Hertfordshire Police say whilst incidents such as these are very uncommon in Hertfordshire, girls and women should be on their guard and take these common sense measures to safeguard their personal safety.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the local crime unit at Hatfield Police Station via the Herts Police non-emergency number 101, quoting Operation Berliner.
Alternatively call Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 555 111.