A sex attacker is on the loose as police urgently probe a “serious” assault on a woman in the churchyard of the Crooked Spire.
The attack happened sometime between 12.30am and 12.50am on Saturday – leaving the well-known Chesterfield church taped off for most of the day as officers combed the area.
Police said the victim was a 32-year-old woman from Chesterfield.
They are hunting a suspect who is described as being a white man in his late teens or early 20s and at least 5ft 9ins maybe taller with dark brown hair. He spoke with a Chesterfield accent.
Officers said the assault appears to be an isolated incident and are urging witnesses to come forward.
They could not give details about the exact nature of the attack.
A spokesman for Derbyshire Constabulary said: “We’re still making inquiries and treating this incident very seriously.
“There is CCTV from various sources in the town centre which we are looking at as part of our investigation.
“Officers would like to speak to anyone who was in the area around the time of the incident and saw any suspicious behaviour.
“In particular, officers are keen to speak with two possible witnesses who were in the churchyard at 12.44am and who may be able to assist the enquiry – one of them was on a mobile phone.”
The spokesman added: “We would like to reassure people that indications suggest this to be an isolated incident and we would like to thank the public for their co-operation at this time.
“Police always advise people to take extra care when on a night out by staying with friends, never walking alone and booking a taxi home.”
Anyone with information about the incident should call Chesterfield CID on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
• Chesterfield Borough Council said there are no plans to install CCTV in the churchyard of the Crooked Spire following the attack.
A council spokesman said the churchyard had not been identified as a “high priority area” for CCTV by Derbyshire Constabulary.
A police spokesman said the force welcomed the installation of CCTV at places like local businesses and churches in a bid to bolster security.
But they stressed the force is not necessarily calling for cameras to be installed at the Crooked Spire churchyard.
On the Derbyshire Times Facebook page, reader Mo Cummins said Saturday morning’s attack was “appalling”.
She added: “Out town is not the place it used to be.”
Another reader, Jan Humar, commented: “It puts you off going out when you hear about these terrible incidents.”