Woman attacked in Cheltenham attempted rape near Matalan
POLICE are looking for a man who tried to rape a woman near Cheltenham's Matalan store.
The 22-year-old was attacked as she walked along Brunswick Street in the early hours of Sunday.
Detectives said the man asked her for directions.
He then pushed her, attempted to remove her clothes and sexually assaulted her before running away.
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Cheltenham borough councillor Jon Walklett (LD, St Paul's) said he was appalled.
He said: "This is an awful thing to have happened. I hope the community help the police to catch whoever did it.
"There have been one or two sexual assaults in and around that area in the last four years.
"The residents in the area have mixed feelings about the lighting down there. Some feel if it was better, crime would be reduced."
A 28-year-old woman was robbed of her mobile phone and handbag at gunpoint in May last year.
Incidents of anti-social behaviour in the area are rife, according to the national crime map, with 192 incidents of antisocial behaviour reported in nearby St Paul's Road, 69 reports of violent crime and 62 burglaries, in March 2012 alone.
The attacker is described as being in his mid 20s, with dark hair, some facial hair and of stocky build. He was wearing a dark coloured top and jeans.
Detective Inspector Ruth Mather, who is leading the investigation, said: "We understand that this will be very worrying for the community. We would reassure them that we are doing all we can to find this man.
"In particular we would like to speak to a cyclist who was seen cycling along Swindon Road and onto St Margarets Road at around 3.40am."
The area is home to a number of University of Gloucestershire students.
Stewart Dove, director of student support at the university, said: "Police have made us aware of a sexual assault which took place in the early hours of Sunday morning.
"The university has advised the student community to be cautious, to be mindful of their surroundings and do their best to avoid walking home alone. Students have been encouraged to contact the police if they have any suspicions or concerns. "
Information can be given by dialling 101, quoting incident number 92 of February 3.