Girl raped on way to school

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A POLICE investigation is underway after a teenage girl was raped on her way to school.

The attack is believed to have taken place sometime between 7.30am and 8.30am this morning (Tuesday) when a man approached the girl as she walked along a path in the Merlewood Drive area of Astley, threatened her and dragged her into an area of nearby wasteland, where he raped her.

The man is described as white, in his 30s, medium build and was wearing a blue vest and three-quarter length khaki shorts.

Specialist support is being provided to the victim and a comprehensive police investigation has been launched.

Detective Chief Inspector Howard Millington from GMP’s Wigan division, said: “This is a truly shocking attack, in which a young girl has been targeted on her way to school, leaving her, understandably, absolutely distraught.

“I have no doubt also that this incident will cause fear and panic in the local community. Rapes of this nature are extremely rare occurrences, but please let me assure people we are working tirelessly to catch the man responsible and are asking the public to assist us with any information they may have.

“The location where the rape took place is a commonly used cut-through used by dog walkers and so it’s possible that at the time, there would have been a number of people in the area.

“Were you in the Merlewood Drive vicinity either before or after 8am today. Did you see the victim or did you see a man wearing a blue vest and khaki shorts? You may think what you saw was only trivial, but it could be vital to our investigation in helping us find this young girl’s attacker.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 0161 856 1891/1812 or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.