A naked man seen committing a “lewd act” on Harrogate Stray sparked a manhunt last night led by police sniffer dogs.
The middle-aged man, said to be sporting a “monk’s hairstyle”, goatee and beer-belly, was spotted by a woman crossing the Stray at around 8.20pm.
She was walking towards Leeds Road when she saw the naked man, carrying a blue Bag for Life, walking towards her from the direction of Tewit Well Bridge.
She ran away and raised the alarm, police officers promptly searching the area with the help of specialist search dogs but he was not found.
Officers are now appealing for information and urging people to be on their guard.
“This was a very disturbing incident,” said DC Fiona Ayre of Harrogate CID. “Although no contact was made with the victim, it has left her very shaken up.
“It’s vital that this man is stopped and made to face the consequences of his actions.
“Members of the public should be allowed to walk through the town without being confronted by such shocking behaviour.”
Officers are appealing for members of the public to contact them if they have any information which could help identify the suspect or if they witnessed any suspicious activity on The Stray.
The suspect is described as aged around 45 to 55 years old, around 6ft, 2in tall with a ‘beer belly’. He had dark, receding hair, similar, police said, to a “monk’s hairstyle”.
He had a moustache and goatee beard which was dark and greying, and was carrying a ‘bag for life’ with what appeared to be his clothes draped over it.
The clothing items are believed to be a light blue t-shirt and dark coloured jeans.
“We urge members of the public to be on their guard and to try and stick to well lit areas when they are walking at night,” added DC Ayre. “If anyone is confronted by a person acting in this manner, please dial 999 straight away.”
Anyone with any information is asked to contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 2 and ask for Harrogate CID, quoting reference number 12130191206.
Alternatively, you can pass information anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.