Police have released CCTV images of a man they wish to identify in connection with an extremely concerning sexual assault that took place in Accrington.

On August 25 at around 6pm, a 53-year-old woman was walking her dog along a footpath close to the rear of Epping Avenue between Whinney Hill Road and East Crescent.

She walked past a man and on completing a circular walking route, noticed the same man walking towards her.

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He grabbed her shoulder and forced his hand between her legs.

She shouted at the offender, pushed him off and managed to run away.

He then ran off in the opposite direction.

Following enquiries, police want to identify the man, pictured, in connection with the investigation.

Det Con Tony Roberts, from East CID, said: "We understand such incidents can cause alarm and concern in the community.

"We have conducted a number of enquiries and following a review of CCTV, have identified this man as a person of interest to our investigation.

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"I would encourage anyone who recognises the man described to come forward immediately.

"Furthermore, I would ask if this is you, please come forward and identify yourself to police and assist with our enquiries.

"Any information provided will be treated in the strictest confidence."

Dog walker sexually assaulted in Accrington 

A description given to police after the incident described the suspect as white, between 18 to 20-years-old, around 5ft 8in to 5ft 9 ins tall, of medium build with thick, collar length blonde hair with an off centre parting.

The man pictured in the CCTV image has been described as having had recently cut blonde hair.

At the time of the attack he was wearing a navy blue sweat top with a cream logo on the front, matching jogging bottoms with dark trainers.

Detective Inspector Paul Barlow, who was initially leading the investigation, said: "This was an extremely concerning assault on a woman simply out walking her pet on a well-known local dog walking route.

"I would like to reassure residents that whilst incidents like this are rare, we have stepped up patrols in the area.

"We need to find this man and so I would urge anyone who might have seen anything or knows of anyone matching the description to get in touch immediately."

Anyone with information can call East CID on 01254 353863 or if they fail to get an answer, 101, quoting incident reference 1088 of August 25.