Sexual Assault and Abuse by Police on the Rise Reuters

Police in Essex are hunting for a rapist who they say would have returned home from an evening out with muddy shoes.

They are appealing to people to come forward after an 18-year-old woman was raped following a night out in Basildon.

The woman was grabbed by a man through an underpass on Cranes Farm Road, Basildon.

She told police that the man dragged her to a bank and raped her, the attacker is described as a white male in his early 20s. He is also said to have worn jeans and a smart, dark grey coat on the evening of the attack.

Police are now appealing for people who might live with the attacker and are claiming that the muddy shoes could be the key to the identification of the man.

DCI Simon Werrett of Essex police said: "This woman had been returning home following a night out at the nearby Festival Leisure Park," DCI Simon Werrett said.

"As a result of the recent weather and the location of the attack, this man would have returned home with mud on his shoes.

"He could live with his parents, girlfriend or housemates so we would appeal to them to contact us if they recall him returning home just before the break of the dawn on Monday with muddy shoes.

"We are now looking through CCTV in a bid to ascertain whether the man has been captured on camera."