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Officers from Bedfordshire Police are appealing for information after a woman was raped in Bedford in the early hours of Monday 12 July.

At around 12.30am, the woman, who is in her 20s, was walking along Castle Road, near the junction with Newnham Road, when a man forced her into some bushes and raped her.

The offender left the scene when he heard people walking nearby.

Now officers are looking to trace a man who was near the scene of the incident and who may have information.

He is described as around 6’2”, white, with brown highlighted hair, worn in a “man bun”.

He was wearing a navy blue flannel-type checked shirt, with a white top underneath, and was headed in the direction of the John Bunyan museum.

Detective Inspector Michelle Lack, from Bedfordshire Police’s RASSO team, which investigates sexual offences, said:

“We are taking this incident very seriously and wish to find this man as soon as possible as he may have information that can assist our enquiry.

“This attack was extremely distressing, and our team of specialist officers is supporting the victim.

“It was the night of the England v Italy Euro final, and there were many people out in Bedford town centre into the early hours.

“We have already been following a number of lines of enquiry and are keen to speak to anyone who was in the area at the time of the incident, or anyone who may have seen anything suspicious.

“We understand that this will be of some concern to local residents, and I’d like to reassure them that we are doing all we can to find the man responsible.”

Anyone with information is asked to report via the force’s online reporting centre, quoting Operation Identify.

Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Victims of rape and sexual assault can receive support and guidance from Bedfordshire Police and partner agencies including the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), as well as support through the criminal investigation process.

Reports can be made to police on 101.

You can also contact Bedfordshire’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) the Emerald Centre, by visiting, emailing or calling 01234 897052.

If you have been affected by crime, Signpost offers free and confidential support to victims in Bedfordshire, whether it has been reported to police or not, and irrespective of where and when the crime occurred.

Contact 0800 0282887 or visit Signpost for further information.