Woman, 26, is raped

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POLICE are hunting a rapist who attacked a woman as she walked home from a nightclub.

The horrific incident happened in an alleyway off Hilden Street, Leigh, at around 5.15am on Sunday.

The 26-year-old woman had left a nearby nightclub and was followed down the alley by a man, who attacked her and raped her. A passer-by heard the woman screaming and saw what was happening, at which point the offender ran off.

He is described as being from eastern Europe, about 5ft 4ins tall, of a scrawny or skinny build and with thick, short black hair. He was wearing a light blue short-sleeved T-shirt that may have had white writing on, and blue jeans.

Police are now appealing to anyone who has information to come forward.

Det Insp Theresa Carter, of Wigan CID, said: “I firstly want to try and reassure people who maybe concerned that this sort of horrific attack in Leigh is rare and I do not want people to be unduly alarmed.

“However, it is right that we should both alert people to what happened and appeal to anyone who might have information to come forward.

“Specially trained officers are working with the woman to give her the help and support she needs after her ordeal and detectives will be pursuing a number of lines of inquiry to try and identify this man and arrest him.

“The best peace of mind we can give this woman is to see her attacker caught and behind bars so please, if you have any information, please call us. It might have been you were in that area and either heard or saw something, or you recognise the man from the description. If you do, we need to hear from you.”

Anyone with information should call Wigan CID on 0161 856 5307 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Anyone who has been a victim of rape or sexual assault can contact Greater Manchester Police on 0161 872 5050 or 999 in an emergency. GMP has specially trained officers in place to provide a first class response to victims and help support them through the justice process.