Exmouth police - ‘Beware Good Samaritan sex attacker’

Detectives are warning woman in Exmouth against accepting a free lift home from strangers after a night out on the town. The police said sexual assault allegations have been made.

Detectives are investigating alleged sex attacks on several young women in Exmouth - by a man posing as a Good Samaritan.

Police have launched an inquiry into claims that a man has been targeting Exmouth after the nightclubs have closed, offering drunken women a free lift home.

Officers are now appealing for anyone who may have accepted a lift and been attacked to come forward.

Detectives are warning young women to be aware of claims that a man has been picking up groups of women - and then striking when the last female has been dropped off.

Officers said sex attacks had increased in recent months and several young women had already helped police with their enquiries.

Detective Constable Blain Bishop, based at Exmouth, said: “Police are investigating a series of allegations of sexual assaults committed in the Exmouth area.

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“This follows an investigation into a male who has been reportedly offering young women free lifts home in the early hours after the nightclubs have finished.

“Allegations have been made that the male then goes on to sexually assault the females when they are on their own in the car.

“This does not appear to be a lone incident and we understand there have been a number of females subjected to such an attack.

“The girls are not necessarily on their own when they are picked up. Sometimes they have accepted lifts with a group. One of the females has been the last to be dropped off and has been assaulted.

“This is clearly of great concern and many of the women have been intoxicated or drunk during these incidents, affecting their decision making.

“I am keen to speak with anyone who feels they are either a victim of such an incident in the Exmouth area, or has any information which they might assist this investigation.”

Det Con Bishop said anyone approached by a stranger and offered a free lift home should ring 999 immediately.

The detective said women could protect themselves by booking a licensed taxi or arranging a lift home from a trusted driver.

Det Con Bishop said: “I would like to highlight the importance of not accepting lifts from strangers - there are inherent dangers.

“I would strongly encourage everyone to make a decision beforehand how they might return home at the end of the night.

“I would urge people to stick to original plans to get home.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Det Con Bishop on 08452 777444, quoting crime reference number KE/11/1195, or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

l Police said a 49-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of committing sexual offences. He had been released on conditional police bail.