A WOMAN was the victim of a serious sexual assault in broad daylight as she walked along a canal towpath in Worcester.

The attack, which left the victim "very distressed", happened at about 12.35pm on Thursday (May 1) where Lansdowne Road crosses the canal at Barbourne.

The "unkempt" attacker accosted the victim, a woman in her 30s, while she was walking under the bridge. He demanded her bag, threatened her, and pushed her against a wall before carrying out the assault.

He pulled her bag off her shoulder and ran off, dumping it in a hedge about 100 metres along the towpath after stealing its contents which included a purse and mobile phone. He ran off towards the Cavalier pub.

Detective Constable Manny Sidhu said: “This was a serious sexual assault, which left the victim very distressed.

“However she has been able to provide us with a very good description of the offender, which we hope someone will recognise."

The man is described as white, aged about 22, 5ft 7ins tall and not fat but with a beer belly.

He was clean-shaven, with flushed red cheeks and a yellowy complexion, distinctive discoloured teeth with black cavities, and overall an unkempt look. He spoke with a Birmingham or Black Country accent.

He was wearing a thin grey-and-blue zip-up hoodie, matching jogging bottoms, and a white sleeveless sports vest with yellow stains on it.

His trainers were described as very white and possibly new, and he wore a white-and-blue baseball cap

The victim was unhurt apart from minor scratches to her chest, caused when he pulled the bag off her shoulder.

Police want to talk to two men walking along the towpath who may have come across the victim immediately after the incident. One was a white man with short hair carrying a green-and-white bag and the second man was wearing a dark coat and walking a dog.

DC Sidhu said: "We would also like to hear from the two men who were walking along the towpath shortly after the incident, as they may have information which could help the inquiry.

“We are aware that on Monday there was a serious sexual assault on the canal towpath at Cookley near Kidderminster, and while there is nothing concrete to link these offences, at this stage we are not been able to rule it out and we are keeping an open mind.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact DC Sidhu on the non-emergency number 101 quoting incident 262-s-010514 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.