Man in his 40s ‘pushed to ground and raped’ on footpath near nature reserve

A man was pushed to the ground and raped on a footpath near a nature reserve.

Cleveland Police has launched an investigation following reports of the alleged sex attack on a man in his 40s near the Maze Nature Reserve, close to Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire.

The incident is said to have happened at around 7.30pm on Thursday on the 'black path' between Tees Barrage and Newport Bridge, TeessideLive reports.

The suspect is described as black, aged in his late 30s, around 5ft 10” tall, of stocky build with short, black hair and a prominent gap between his front upper teeth.

He was clean shaven and spoke English but was not fluent and was wearing dark clothing, Cleveland Police said.

Detectives believe that two women may have been in the area around Newport Bridge and seen a distressed male.

Officers are appealing for the women to come forward in the belief that they may have evidence that will assist the investigation.

These two women are described as being aged in their 30s and one with blonde, curly hair

Detective Sergeant Iain Pearson said: "We are investigating a report of rape which happened around 7.30pm on the black path running from Tees Barrage to Newport Bridge, near to Maze Park Nature Reserve.

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"All reports of rape are taken extremely seriously. Specially trained officers are supporting the victim and we are following up a number of lines of inquiry.

"Neighbourhood officers will have a high-visibility presence in the area for reassurance and anyone with concerns can approach those officers and speak with them.

"I would appeal to two women who may have been in the area around Newport Bridge at approximately 7:30pm last night, who may have seen a distressed male, as they may be able to assist our investigation."

A force spokesperson added: "Any witnesses or anyone who may have information regarding the incident or the person responsible is asked to contact Cleveland Police on 101, quoting incident number 068313.

"Independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111, or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org."

If you or somebody you know has been affected by this story, contact Victim Support for free, confidential advice on 0845 30 30 900 or visit their website, www.victimsupport.org.uk.

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