POLICE are appealing for information following a serious sexual assault near Kidderminster earlier today.

Officers were called to the canal towpath in Cookley at about 10.45am this morning following the attack.

The offender is described as a white man, aged about 20 with messy dark hair and may be covered in mud.

Police are keen to trace any witnesses in particular a cyclist who rode past the victim on the canal towpath shortly before the assault.

He is described as white, in his 60s, with white, curly or shaggy hair. He was wearing dark blue jeans and was riding a mountain bike which had some red on it.

This man may have information which could help the inquiry and he is asked to come forward.

Detective Inspector Callie Bradley of West Mercia Police said: “Full details of what occurred are still being established, but a serious sexual assault has been reported and an investigation is underway.

“I would like to reassure people that incidents of this nature are rare. A large number of officers, including dog handlers and the force helicopter, are currently searching the area.”

Any information can be reported to police on 101 quoting incident number 172-s-280414.

Information can also be passed anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via crimestoppers-uk.org.