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Warning after shopper raped near Brandon

PUBLISHED: 10:07 17 June 2008 | UPDATED: 21:07 07 July 2010

Women were urged to be on their guard last night after a sex attacker abducted a shopper at a busy Suffolk supermarket car park and subjected her to a three-hour rape ordeal.

Women were urged to be on their guard last night after a sex attacker abducted a shopper at a busy Suffolk supermarket car park and subjected her to a three-hour rape ordeal.

Extra police were on patrol in Brandon yesterday following the rape at the weekend, which happened after a 21-year-old woman helped the offender with his heavy bag.

Officers praised the bravery of

the victim, who was snatched in broad daylight at the Tesco car park in London Road on Saturday, subjected to the sexual assault at an isolated location, and was dropped off at an industrial estate in the town later that afternoon.

Community leaders spoke of their shock following the incident, but Suffolk Police yesterday said that they hoped the case was an “isolated” offence.

The offender, who is described as white, scruffy, in his late 50s or early 60s, 5ft 3in, of medium build with a pot belly, approached the 21-year-old at about 2.15pm on Saturday and asked for assistance with his blue holdall bag.

He then threatened the victim

and forced her into his vehicle

before driving 20 minutes to an isolated caravan or cabin where

she was raped. The young local woman was returned to an

isolated spot in Wimbledon Avenue, Brandon - half a mile away from

the Tesco store - at about 5pm.

Det Chief Insp David Cutler, who is leading the investigation, said the attack was a “very unusual and serious offence” and Suffolk Police's Major Investigation Team (MIT) had been mobilised to coordinate the manhunt.

“This was a frightening attack

on a young woman who was simply being helpful to a man who appeared to be in need of assistance,” he

said.

“These sorts of offences are rare throughout the country, but especially in a very safe county like Suffolk. I think they [women] need to be aware of what is around them and if they are even a little unsure they need to think about their own self,” he said.

Det Chief Insp Cutler said the victim could not see where she was taken, but it was a small isolated premises approached through a gate and track and she could hear gunshots close by.

The offender was also described as having bushy white/grey sideburns, with heavy grey facial hair and a ruddy complexion. He was wearing a red woolly hat, a red fleece, black tracksuit bottoms, trainers and glasses. He was generally dirty and smoked roll ups.

His car is described as a dirty, older style dark grey 4x4 with front seats only, a row of four blue spotlights on a bull bar at the front, and a rear door rather than a boot.

Bill Bishop, local county councillor and Brandon resident, said the whole town was shocked by the “terrible” incident.

“They do not expect something like this to happen in Brandon. They are gobsmacked. It makes people feel unsafe and makes everyone very vulnerable,” he said.

A team of 20 officers is working on the case. Chief Insp Michael Holdsworth, Forest Heath district commander, added that a high visibility police presence would continue in the area.

Suffolk Police is appealing for anyone who saw any suspicious activity in the Tesco car park between noon and 3pm Saturday or saw the distressed victim walking between Wimbledon Avenue and Manor Road, between 4.45pm and 5.30pm.

Contact the MIT incident room on 01473 613824.

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