POLICE have ramped up patrols in an Essex town following reports two women were grabbed from behind in what police are calling sexually motivated attacks.

The first incident took place in an alleyway off Chelmsford Road, Dunmow, at around 10.45pm on Thursday.

A woman reported being grabbed from behind whilst walking and then sexually assaulted over her clothing.

The victim bravely fought off the attacker, who ran towards the Flitch Industrial Estate.

On Friday, a 13-year-old girl reported being grabbed from behind whilst she was talking on the phone along woodland off Flitch Green Housing Estate, in Little Dunmow.

The girl screamed and hit the suspect, who ran off.

He has been described as white, of a slim build and aged in his 20s.

He wore a dark hoody and had his face partially covered, possibly by a face mask.

Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Scott Egerton, said: “Specialist detectives are working around the clock to identify this man, who attacked a woman and a teenage girl while they walked alone.

“We’ve been carrying out house to house and CCTV enquiries and we’ve received good descriptions of the attacker by both victims, who are supporting us with our enquiries.

“We are continuing forensic examinations of both locations while other enquiries continue.

“My team are working closely with Uttlesford’s Community Policing Team officers, who are carrying out increased patrols in the area.

“We would urge members of the community to be vigilant as they go out and about.

“While the incidents are not close to each other, we believe they are possibly linked to the same man.

“I believe people close to both incidents may have seen this man running off and acting suspiciously.

“If you have information, if you have footage, if you heard anything – please contact us, no matter how small you may think it is.”

Anyone with information is asked to call our Major Crime Team in Dunmow on 101 reporting incident 1115 of 29/05.

Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.