POLICE say four riverside sex attacks in Hereford have been reported to them in just two weeks - with a women's group saying the news is "horrific".

West Mercia Police said two rapes and a sexual assault had been reported to officers, as well as one flashing incident.

Police have since upped patrols along the riverside path, with both uniformed and plainclothed officers said to be in the area.

The offences have been reported along the stretch of the riverside path from the Victoria Bridge to Hunderton Bridge.

Here's what we know so far

What are the four sex attacks that have been reported to police?

Alleged rape, July 31

Between midnight and 1.30am on Sunday, July 31, a 20-year-old woman reported that she had been raped by a man as she walked along a river path in Hereford.

The alleged rape took place opposite the rowing club between The Old Bridge and Great Western Way.


Police said the suspect then fled from the scene along the pathway in the direction of Luard Walk or the Hunderton Estate.

Police said an arrest has since been made.

Alleged flasher, August 3

Police only confirmed the report of indecent exposure on Monday (August 15), and gave few details about the alleged incident.

But officers said an arrest had been made in connection with the alleged flashing on Wednesday, August 3.

Alleged rape, August 7

West Mercia Police said it was called by the ambulance service shortly after 11pm on Sunday, August 7 when the victim told paramedics she had been raped.

Hereford Times: A police cordon at Victoria Bridge, Hereford, after a rape near the spot last weekend (August 7)A police cordon at Victoria Bridge, Hereford, after a rape near the spot last weekend (August 7)

Police said they believed the incident took place on the river path between the tennis courts and Victoria Bridge between 9pm and 10pm.

No arrest has yet been made, but officers said on Monday that they were carrying out enquiries to find a named suspect.

Sexual assault, August 12

Police said they were called after a man grabbed a woman from behind and exposed himself. 

The incident took place on the river path between King George V playing fields and Hinton Road between 9.45pm and 10.15pm on Friday, August 12.

The suspect was described as a white male with a local accent, 5ft 7in tall, aged 35-40, with a dirty appearance, short light blonde hair and wearing square-framed glasses.

He was carrying a backpack and wearing black trousers and brown walking boots which were muddy.


Officers wanted to find a man who was walking a large white Staffordshire Bull Terrier type dog along the path as it is believed he may have seen the suspect in the moments following the incident.

Then, in an update on Monday, police said they also wanted to find another man who was in the area and also walking a dog. His dog was small, dark-coloured or black, and possibly a small breed such as a Poodle or Terrier.

He was walking on the river path from Hinton Road up towards Victoria Bridge and is believed to have seen the victim and the offender in the moments shortly before the attack.

No arrests have been made.

What have police officers said?

West Mercia police officers have made statements throughout the two-week period where the alleged offences were said to have happened.

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Peters said after the first reported rape: "We understand that this incident will be very worrying to the local community and I want to reassure the public that we have been, and continue to take it very seriously, and that there is likely to be an increased police presence in these areas whilst we continue with our investigations.

"The victim is being supported by specially trained officers and is being kept updated as the investigation progresses."

Superintendent Edd Williams, local policing commander for Herefordshire, then reiterated that message after the second rape was reported.

Hereford Times: Police activity on August 8 after a second riverside rape was reported in HerefordPolice activity on August 8 after a second riverside rape was reported in Hereford

He said police were taking the incidents incredibly seriously, with the victim being supported.

He said at the time that there was nothing evidentially to link the recent incidents, but police were keeping an open mind and pursuing all lines of enquiry.

“There will be an increased police presence around the river paths over the coming weeks, particularly during the late evening and overnight," he said.

Then, in the latest update on Monday, Hereford Chief Inspector Ross Jones said: "We have a dedicated team of detectives overseeing the investigation into the offences that have been reported to us.

"I'd like to thank the victims of these incidents for their courage in coming forward to report them. All four victims continue to be supported by specially trained officers."


He said more patrols by both uniformed and plainclothes officers would continue along the river path, particularly during the late evening and overnight.

"As some of these patrols are being carried out by plainclothes officers you may not see them, but please be rest assured we have officers in the area," he added.

"We recognise the concern around safety in this area and would like to offer reassurance we have been working closely with our partners to implement measures to improve safety in these areas. This work will continue.”

Will there ever be lights and CCTV along the riverside path?

Chief Inspector Jones said police have been successful in securing more than £500,000 of funding as part of a Safer Streets bid in partnership with Herefordshire Council and the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner.

The Safer Street project objective is to make public places safer for all, he said, and in Hereford there would be a special focus on tackling offences which involve violence against women and girls, with a focus on routes taken home by women when out at night.

The funding will allow also mean better lighting and CCTV, with areas covered including those around both Victoria and Hunderton Bridges, as well as Aylestone, Whitecross Road, Bishops Meadow and Canary Bridge.

The funding will also allow further education to be delivered to schools, as well as a targeted campaign encouraging bystanders as well as women and girls to report concerns. It will also highlight support services available, he said.

Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said: "I am aware of the community concerns in relation to these incidents, and I am reassured that the police are doing all they can in response and will continue to take action to ensure our communities are safe."

The government's new Street Safe tool gives you the power to report areas where you feel unsafe. For further information or to report an area of concern please visit police.uk/streetsafe.

What have local groups said?

Herefordshire Women's Equality Group (HWEG) members are deeply concerned by the reports.

“Our thoughts are with the victims of these horrific crimes,” said a spokesperson.

“We stand in solidarity with these victims and all of those impacted by news of these assaults.”


Regardless of age or gender the group believes all are at risk of these attacks.

The group encourages those impacted by sexual violence of any type at any time in their lives to seek support from local specialist services wmrsasc.org.uk and theglade.org.uk.

These organisations can support survivors to decide their next steps, to choose what feels right for them at this time and in the future.

Meanwhile, Hereford and South Herefordshire Labour Party, which is due to hold a community safety question and answer event on September 28 at Hereford FC from 7pm to 9pm with police, councillors, and other influential figures for the county, said it was shocked and worried by the reported crimes.

A spokesperson from Hereford and South Herefordshire Labour Party said: "The second potential rape case in Hereford is a truly shocking and worrying crime.