POLICE have stepped up patrols in Colchester after a man was seen acting suspiciously around a teenage schoolgirl.

The incident took place near Hospital Lane at around 3.35pm on Friday.

The road is near to several schools, including Colchester Royal Grammar School and Colchester High School.

The man involved has been described by the victim as being white and wore dark clothing with a hood up and had a dark coloured face mask on.

Acting Chief Inspector Jon Evans, District Commander for Colchester, said: “I know that reports of this might be concerning to residents and parents but we believe this is an isolated incident and we have put plans in place to reassure and protect the public.

“We have increased patrols on Lexden Road and Crouch Street during school pick-up and drop-off times this week.

“The incident was reported to us on Sunday and we immediately put a patrol plan in place and we’re continuing to review CCTV in the area.

“While our officers continue their enquiries, we’re asking anyone with information about this incident to come forward.”

Witnesses should call Colchester CID on 101, quoting reference number 42/191795/20.

Residents can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.