A “DESPICABLE” thug assaulted a dog walker after trying to steal her pooch whilst she was in a popular area of woodland.

The woman was walking along a footpath in a wooded area between Berechurch Hall Road and Richard Day Walk in Colchester at about 8.20pm on Wednesday.

She was approached by a man on a bicycle, who attempted to snatch the dog lead out of her hand.

She managed to push him away and leave the area, but was assaulted.

The 22-year-old suffered minor injuries but is understandably shaken up after the incident.

Ward councillor Dave Harris said he was shocked by the incident.

He said: “I am very concerned after hearing about the incident.

“The lady could have been more seriously hurt and it could have been a lot worse - particularly if they had managed to take the dog too.

“What sort of person tries to take a dog away from a loving home like this? It is despicable.”

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Mr Harris urged the public to take extra care whilst walking their dogs in the area and across Colchester.

He said: “It could happen again and people need to be aware so they can watch out for each other.

“If anyone saw anything I would urge them to please get in touch with the police as soon as possible.”

Earlier this month Colchester MP Will Quince said he had written to ministers to look at creating a specific criminal offence of stealing a pet after reports of a number of incidents taking place across Essex.

Essex Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward.

They are asked to contact 101 or visit www.essex.police.uk, quoting 42/68071/21.

  • Mr Harris is a candidate for both the Colchester Council and Essex County Council elections in May.
  • The other candidates for Colchester Council are John Clifton (Green), Chris Piggot (Con) and Mick Spindler (Lib Dem).
  • The other candidates for Essex County Council are Tony Emment (Lib Dem), Joe Johnson (Reform), Chris Piggot (Con) and Blake Roberts (Green).