Sex worker subjected to "serious sexual assault" in Holbeck

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A man has been arrested following a report of a serious sexual assault on a female sex worker.

The area in Springwell Court has been cordoned off following the incident at 10.15pm last night.

The scene in Holbeck today

The scene in Holbeck today

A 54-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the incident and is currently in custody.

At around 10am, workers were still stuck outside the industrial estate - which is in the "managed area" for prostitution - as it was cordoned off by police at the junction of Holbeck Lane.

Another cordon was visible inside the estate between the Fresco Flooring Unit 2 and Ian Dunford Ltd business buildings.

One of the three officials inside was taking photographs of the sealed-off area, which contained yellow numbered cones.

Phil Tate, who works at Fresco Flooring at the estate, said: "I was here at 5.30am this morning.

"Police said there has been a serious incident but wouldn't say what it was.

"Our building's cordoned off. They said until forensics arrive nobody can come down."

He added: "They can't come until it's light."

Other police officers and a crime investigation scene were also present outside the first cordon.

Greg Adams, from AB4, which supplies office, industrial and interiors products and services, said a delivery truck was turned away overnight and they were also unable to make deliveries.

He said he was contacted earlier this morning by another of the businesses saying they could not get access to the estate.

Mr Adams added: "He'd arrived at 5.30am and there was police everywhere and a tape across part of their building.

"This area is being blighted by the decision of Leeds City Council and the police to allow a managed area."

A Safer Leeds spokesperson said: “The Managed Approach was introduced to provide a long-term solution to sex work in this particular area, which despite many previous initiatives, had failed to reduce the day-to-day impact on people living and working in the local community.

“We have made an ongoing commitment to listen closely to all of the views that have been expressed regarding this particular approach, and adapt and modify the strategy as appropriate.

"To inform this work, and balance the different needs of residents, businesses, sex workers, agencies and support teams, this included undertaking a wide-ranging public consultation and review of the scheme last summer.

“While there has undoubtedly been some positive results achieved, especially in regard to improving the confidence of sex workers to report crimes and access support, we fully recognise and understand that some people for a variety of reasons, will never support the approach which is being taken.

"There is also no denying that the initial publicity around the Managed Approach exacerbated by an intense media spotlight undermined the confidence of some local businesses and residents.

“In response, we are continuing to work extremely hard and closely with partners and residents to reduce the impact and tackle those issues and concerns that have been raised in the community, including those at a recent public meeting.

"This has included evaluating and improving our cleansing and enforcement work, and engagement strategy with residents, businesses and key stakeholders.

"Residents, businesses and all interested parties can be fully assured that the work undertaken as part of the Managed Approach is under continuous review to ensure it is meeting the aims of helping vulnerable sex workers to exit the streets, enforcing against criminality and supporting the community.

"If this is not the case, further steps will be taken and further options considered as appropriate.”

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