Police examine sex attack link in Stockton

Image caption Police have released an e-fit of a man they want to talk to

Three separate incidents involving girls being attacked or propositioned may be linked, police have said.

A 12-year-old girl was robbed and sexually assaulted while walking home from school in Stockton on Tuesday.

Cleveland Police are also looking into reports of two girls being asked by a man to get into his car, on 18 and 20 October in the same area.

An e-fit of a man officers want to speak to in connection with the incidents has been released.

During Tuesday's attack, the victim was near Chadwick Walk, Hardwick, when a hooded man with a scar above his eye grabbed her bag and sexually assaulted her on Tuesday.

'Be vigilant'

Police said the girl, who was in school uniform, was left "terrified" by her ordeal, which happened at about 16:20 BST.

Her attacker was in his 30s, had a large earring in one ear and was wearing a baseball cap and black, hooded top.

During the two other incidents, police believe a man in a silver Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf asked the girls to get in, but they ran off.

Det Sgt Chris Barker, of Stockton CID, said: "The girls are of similar age to the victim in the robbery and sexual assault.

"Police can't rule out a link to all three incidents at this stage.

"These reports will be concerning to the community, but I would ask residents not to panic, but be vigilant and report anything suspicious to police."

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