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Lancashire Police are appealing for witnesses after a thirteen-year-old boy was assaulted on Lancaster bridge in an ‘unprovoked attack’.
A press release from Lancashire Constabulary describes the incident: “Sometime between 1.30pm and 1.40pm on Sunday (October 16), the victim, a 13-year-old boy, was cycling on Lune Street towards the Millennium Bridge. As he continued across the bridge he fell from his bike and shouted an expletive. While stood by his bike, a man walking with a young girl approached the teenager and grabbed him by the throat, telling him not to swear”
“The suspect then walked off towards the St Georges Quay area. He is described as in his early 40s and has short dark hair. He was wearing a navy blue jacket. The young girl appeared to be under 10-years-old. A member of the public witnessed the incident and helped the victim before calling police”
Anyone with information relating to the incident can call the police on 101, using the crime reference WB1608422, or alternatively the independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800555111.
PC Adam Jussub, of Lancashire Police, said: “This assault was an unprovoked attack on a 13-year-old boy. The suspect was with a young girl and the fact she was a witness to this violent attack is quite worrying”
“From CCTV enquiries there appear to be several people walking around on the bridge at the time of the incident and we believe would have seen the offender. If you recognise the man described or saw the assault, please get in touch with police.”
This follows shortly after police appealed for information about an unconnected incident on Saturday (October 15th) after a ten-year-old girl was touched inappropriately in Lancaster city centre.
The statement released by police explained, “Around 6pm, the victim, who had been visiting Lancaster Music Festival in the city with her family, was walking in the direction of the castle near to Mountain Warehouse on Market Street when she was approached by a man. As he walked past, the male inappropriately grabbed the girl over her clothing, before continuing in the direction of St Nicholas’ Arcade.”
PC Sally Ward from Lancaster Police said: “The young girl has understandably been left very shaken by the actions of this man. The area was very busy at the time of the incident and so someone must have seen him or know who he is. He may have visited shops or cafes in the area. If that is the case, please get in touch as soon as possible.”
The offender was described by the press release as a white man, “around 40 years old, approximately 5ft 3ins, of small build, with short light brown hair and was wearing a black bomber jacket, black chino type trousers and what has been described as brown ‘business type’ shoes with laces”
Anyone with information can call 101, this time using the crime reference number LC-20161015-1264.
So is there any cause for concern for university students? While Lancaster is far from a hotspot of lawbreaking in certain areas the city does have above average crime levels.
According to a 2014 report by the Mirror violent and sexual assaults stand at 1.24 per 100 residents, above the national average of 1.06, and in a comparison with other university dominated English cities by the complete university guide Lancaster just about comes in in the lower half of the crime rankings, with 35 criminal incidents per 1000 inhabitants.
However, it is worth remembering that university towns are broadly safer than most towns in the UK.