Leeds sex attack fears allayed

Police have moved to scotch rumours spreading across north Leeds that a serial sex attacker is on the loose in the Chapeltown area.

Officers have met local residents to reassure them.

And, following the meetings they have revealed brief details of two sex offences which are under investigation, another incident in which a woman was wrongly rumoured to have been raped and a further false report of a sex attack.

Insp Matt Davison of Chapeltown Neighbourhood Policing Team said: "I am aware there are rumours circulating within Chapeltown that there is a sex attacker on the loose and I can understand why people are concerned about hearing such things. I would like to put the record straight and try to alay some of your fears."

"Since November we have investigated two reports of incidents of a sexual nature and one man has been arrested.

"In the early hours of the November 27 we received a report that a

woman had suffered a serious sexual assault in Potternewton Park. An investigation was launched immediately and a man was arrested.

"He is currently on police bail while we continue our enquiries.

"On Boxing Day between 7-7.45pm a 17-year-old girl was approached in Chapeltown by an Asian man who indecently assaulted her, by touching her behind. Each of these incidents is distressing for those involved, but I would like to reassure residents that we take these allegations very seriously and where we can, make arrests and seek to prosecute offenders."

"I held a public meeting this week to discuss the concerns of residents and have taken onboard many comments made, however what was apparent to me is that as these incidents have been spoken about they have been misconstrued and embelished. I am also aware that the name of a young woman has been mentioned saying she has been a victim of rape, when she herself, has said no such thing has happened," said Insp Davison.

He said that while police would always encourage communities to speak to one another about their concerns, when rumours circulating to the extent they had about very serious allegations it raised fears and tensions.

"We would like people to report their concerns to us about anything they hear or see so we can investigate, but it may also be the piece of the jigsaw we have been waiting for as part of a bigger picture.

"We provide regular high visbility patrols around Chapeltown to ensure

a police presence can be seen and is there to serve the community," he added.

A spokeswoman added that an earlier complaint of a sexual offence in the area had now been withdrawn as it had not occurred.

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