Exmouth police investigating an unprovoked attack on a 16-year-old girl at Ottery St Mary’s tar barrel celebrations are appealing for public help identifying the thugs.

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Detectives at Exmouth are hoping witnesses can help identify a gang of thugs who attacked a teenager during tar barrel celebrations at Ottery St Mary.

Police say a 16-year-old girl was viciously attacked by a man and group of women shortly after the last tar barrel had finished.

Officers would like to hear from anyone who knows the identity of the group, or who saw the victim being dragged into an alleyway by a man.

PC Sarah Henley said the victim was left with bruising to the brain and internal bruising to her body.

She said: “A male grabbed the female from behind, covering her mouth and eyes, from under her arms and dragged her to a nearby alleyway. Once in the alleyway he threw her to the floor and began kicking her to her abdomen and chest area.

“He then shouted ‘come on’ and was joined by three or four females who then joined in whilst the male was shouting ‘kick her harder’.

“Only when the victim began coughing up blood did the group then run off.”

Police say the unprovoked attack took place in the Broad Street area on November 5, shortly after midnight.

The teenager had become separated from her friends and was taking a shortcut through an alleyway when the man dragged her away.

Police said the attack may not have been isolated and others could have been targeted.

PC Henley said: “It was obviously extremely busy that night but I have reason to believe she may not have been the only person attacked by this group that night and that there may be witnesses to the assault.”

The man is described as being at least six foot tall, of muscular build. He was wearing a long-sleeved top.

The male and the women attackers were all thought to be between 30 and 40 years old. One of the women had a ‘gruff’ voice.

● If anyone has information about the attack, contact PC Henley on 101, quoting crime reference KO/12/627.

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