Hunt for Harrogate sex act suspect

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A man who allegedly performed sex acts on himself on the Bilton to Ripley cycle path is being sought by the police.

A woman was jogging towards Ripley when she spotted a man appear from bushes in the distance on Thursday, August 21, 2014, between 6pm and 6.30pm.

When she approached him she noticed he was topless, had his trousers around his ankles, and was performing a sex act on himself.

In an almost identical incident, the suspect was again spotted walking out from trees by a woman who was cycling from Bilton on February 12, 2015, at around 4.30pm.

On both occasions the cycle bath was quiet with very few people nearby.

Sergeant Amanda Hanusch-Moore, of the Harrogate Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “Due to the similarity of the circumstances and the descriptions of the suspects, we believe the two disturbing incidents are connected.

“We are appealing for people to come forward with any information that could help to identify the man involved. We are particularly interested in other incidents that have not been reported to the police.

“Even the smallest piece of information or detail could prove vital to the investigation.”

While the two women who reported the incidents were not directly threatened by the man, it is important that people remain vigilant and alert of their surroundings at all times.

Sgt Hanusch-Moore added: “If you feel threatened or in danger, our advice is to always dial 999 for an emergency police response.”

The suspect is described as white, aged between 30 and 50, about 6ft tall with a skinny to medium build and a hairless chest.

He was wearing a baseball cap, possibly dark or navy blue or grey in colour.

If you can assist the investigation, contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option one, and speak to the Force Control Room.

Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through their anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

No personal details are taken, information cannot be traced or recorded and you will not go to court.