Detectives are investigating links between a string of street robberies in Leeds’s student heartland.
At least ten people, aged 19 to 30, have been mugged in similar incidents in Hyde Park and Woodhouse in the last three weeks.
Intelligence suggests two groups – a pair of black males in some cases and two Asian males and a white male in others – are behind the incidents.
Det Insp Mark Strother, of Leeds neighbourhood crime team, said: “We have had some considerable success in tackling street robberies which has seen the number of offences in this area over recent months remain very low.
“This has meant this sudden increase has stood out as something relatively unprecedented and which is obviously a cause for concern.
“We are making extensive enquiries to trace the people responsible and are focusing increased attention on the area with patrols by both uniformed and plain-clothed officers as well as targeting known offenders.”
An efit image has been produced of one of the robbers, who targeted a 30-year-old man in St John’s Avenue, Hyde Park, at about 2.40am on Friday, February 13.
The victim was alone when he was confronted by three men, one armed with a knife and another with a plank of wood, who searched his pockets and stole a mobile phone and cash.
One of the men was described as Asian, skinny, aged about 19, with slight facial hair. Another was described as white and stocky.
There were two further incidents in Hyde Park in the early hours of February 13. In one a 19-year-old man was approached in Moorland Road but ran off before anything was stolen.
A short time later a 20-year-old man was robbed of his mobile phone, rucksack and cash in St John’s Avenue after he was punched and threatened with a knife.
At about 3am the following day a 22-year-old man was threatened with knife and robbed of his phone, watch and cash in Moorland Road. Another incident took place on the same street about 4.20am the same day, when a man was punched and robbed of a phone and cash.
A 24-year-old man was the victim of a similar street robbery in Hessle Avenue at about 2.45am on Thursday, February 12. He was threatened with a knife and his phone taken.
There were four other incidents between January 25 and 31 in Delph Lane and Woodhouse Street in Woodhouse and on Woodhouse Moor.
Det Insp Strother added: “We would like to hear from anyone who recognises the man in the e-fit image or who has any information that could assist the investigation.
“A significant feature of these incidents has been that the victims, a number of whom are students, have been walking alone in relatively secluded and darkened areas late at night or in the early hours of the morning.
“We would ask that people give due consideration to their personal safety while out in the street in the hours of darkness. It’s always safer to take a bus or taxi or to walk with a group. We also advise sticking to well-lit areas and not advertising your property by using a mobile phone or listening to music on headphones while walking on your own.”
Anyone with any information should contact Det Con Sophie Hawkswell at Weetwood police station via 101, or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.