Detectives in Bournemouth are appealing for witnesses and anyone with information to come forward after a woman was raped in the town.
Police were called by a member of the public at 2.17am this morning, (21 July), to reports of a woman being sexually assaulted in Lower Gardens.
The victim, an 18-year-old local woman, was followed into the gardens by a man where she was raped.
The offender is said to have dark hair and he spoke with a local accent.
The victim and offender are not known to each other.
A cordon has been put in place while the scene is examined by officers.
Detective Sergeant Kim Goodenough, of Bournemouth CID, said: “I am appealing to anyone who has information about this incident to contact me urgently.
“I am keen to hear from anybody who was in the area at the relevant times who saw or heard something suspicious.
“This was a traumatic ordeal for the victim who is being supported by specially trained officers.
“I would like to reassure the public that incidents of this serious nature are very rare in Dorset.”
Bournemouth Central Neighbourhood Inspector Heather Dixey said: “Detectives are looking at all lines of enquiries and haven’t ruled out that this incident might be linked to an incident last week.
“Officers are keen to talk to anyone with information and any witnesses to either incident in the Lower Pleasure Gardens near to Bournemouth Square and the balloon area – at around 3.25am on Monday 13 July and between 1.50am and 2.05am on Tuesday 21 July 2015.
“I would like to reassure the public that there will be additional dedicated patrols in the area. We are also speaking to local businesses to reiterate our safety messages and are asking them to assist in keeping an eye out for vulnerable women on their own in and around the town.
“I would like to remind residents and visitors – as we do throughout the year – to be conscious of their own personal safety.
“It is essential that everyone takes a common sense approach and trusts their instincts – if you don’t feel comfortable in a particular area, then take another route.
“All year round and all over the country, there are many things that people can do to ensure that they are safe, such as walking with friends, carrying a mobile phone and letting people know where you are.”