HAILSHAM: Police hunt pair after teen raped

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A TEENAGE girl from Hailsham was raped by two men as she walked near playing fields in St Leonards.

The assault took place on Friday night (January 14), after the 17-year-old girl, who had been staying at her boyfriend’s house in the town, went out to get some fresh air shortly after 11pm.

She turned into Harrow Lane from The Ridge, where she was approached by two men on a footpath near the Baldslow playing fields.

The men shouted at her, then the white offender punched the victim to the ground and restrained her while the other raped her.

The pair then ran back towards The Ridge.

The girl reported the attack to the police the next day, after she returned home and spoke to her mother.

The first suspect is described as black, large, and about 5ft 7in tall. He is believed to be in his late 20s and had a London accent.

He was wearing a grey hooded tracksuit top and matching tracksuit bottoms, with white trainers.

The second man is described as white, slight and about 5ft 5in tall.

He had a southern accent and appeared slightly younger.

He was wearing a black hooded tracksuit top and matching tracksuit bottoms, with white trainers.

The assault is the third attack on teenage girls in the area in nine months.

Detective Chief Inspector Trevor Bowles from Sussex Police’s major crime branch, said the pair of men who attacked the Hailsham girl may be well-known locally and urged anyone with any information to come forward. He said that although there was nothing to suggest the attack was anything other than an isolated offence, he has not ruled out linking other attacks.

“It is important to say at this stage, we will not link enquiries unless there is solid and compelling evidence to do so,” he said. “But if we do link this to other attacks, clearly that would give us a number of further investigative opportunities and I am more than happy to take that step if that is viable.

“At the moment we are at the early stage of analysing previous attacks.

“You always keep an open mind as to whether that is a possibility.”

Detective Inspector Rob Morland branded the rape a “cowardly attack.”

He said,“Forensic specialists have examined the scene and a thorough trawl of nearby CCTV is under way,” “The victim is being supported by officers who are specially trained to assist her at this difficult time.

“She bravely told her mother about the attack and has given us good descriptions of the two suspects.

“We are actively pursuing the suspects, but I would ask anyone who recognises their descriptions or who may have seen them late on Friday night to help us.

“Men like this deserve no kind of respect, so if you’ve overheard someone talking about this, do the right thing and contact us or the anonymous and independent Crimestoppers service,” he added.

Anyone with information is urged to call polie, on 0845 6070999, quoting Operation Marlow, or Crimestoppers, on 0800 555111.