POLICE have launched an appeal after a girl reported being sexually assaulted in a town centre.

The victim was outside a shop in Market Place in Braintree waiting for a friend when a man arrived behind her and took her into an alleyway near to Tesco.

He then sexually assaulted her and warned her not to tell anyone.

The incident occurred on December 5 last year but was reported to Essex Police on March 18.

After beginning the investigation police are now appealing for any witnesses to help find the man responsible.

The man is described as of mixed race or tanned appearance, about 6ft tall and aged about 20.

He was wearing all black and may have been wearing black Nike Air Max trainers.

He was very skinny but had big feet and his jawline was defined by shaved stubble.

He had black hair which was short on the sides and fluffy on top and was wearing a nose stud and a septum nose ring.

Police believe he has a distinctive birthmark on his forehead shaped like a strawberry and may have had a neck tattoo.

He also wore rings on his thumb and middle finger.

Anyone who may have witnessed the incident or recognises the detailed description of the man should get in touch with police.

You can submit a report online at essex.police.uk or call 101 and cite incident 42/47254/21.