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Officers in Rotherham are appealing for information and issuing a warning to parents and residents in the Kimberworth and Clifton areas of the borough, following reports of a man exposing himself to young schoolgirls at bus stops.
There have been four separate incidents involving girls aged 10-13 years-old. They were all wearing their uniforms and either travelling to school in the morning, or coming home from school in the afternoon.
The first incident happened on Friday the 10th of June at a bus stop opposite Clifton Comprehensive School. An 11-year-old girl reported to police that she saw a man standing at the bus stop, looking at the timetable. A moment later she realised he was standing in front of her exposing himself. When the girl ran back into the school to alert staff, the man was seen running down Middle Lane, turning right onto Clifton Grove.
The second incident happened at about 8am on Friday the 22nd of July at a bus stop on Kimberworth Road, Ferham. This was the last day of term before the school holidays and a 13-year-old girl reported to police that a man, who was already at the bus stop, exposed himself to her while making inappropriate comments. The girl ran away and the police were called.
The third incident happened just before 8am on Thursday the 6th October at a bus stop on New Wortley Road, near to Garden Street. An 11-year-old girl has reported to police that a man approached her at the bus stop, exposed himself and spoke to her. When she ran away, the man was seen running towards Wilton Road.
The most recent incident happened at about 4.40pm on Wednesday the 12th of October. This was at a bus stop on Meadowhall Road, directly at the end of the drive to Meadow View Primary School. A 10-year-old girl has told police that while she was waiting for a bus after school, she noticed a man exposing himself and behaving in an inappropriate manner. She ran away and the police were called.
All four schoolgirls have given similar descriptions of the unknown man they saw. He is aged between 30-40 years-old, between 5ft 8in and 6ft tall with a slim build. For all incidents, the offender is described as having a pale complexion with distinctive wrinkles on his face, especially noticeable around his mouth and eyes and his hair is short, possibly dark grey or brown. The offender has been described as wearing ‘workman’ style clothing and during each incident, the man is wearing a high visibility fluorescent sleeveless jacket.
Officers do not believe that the man has made any attempt to physically harm or abduct the girls, but they are very concerned that this person is specifically targeting young schoolgirls and are appealing for anyone who may know who is doing this to contact the police immediately.
Two of the victims have been able to assist the police in creating e-fits of the offender and officers have released these in a bid to identify the suspect.
Superintendent Andrew Parker said, "From the descriptions given by the victims and the circumstances of each incident, we now believe that these four separate crimes have been committed by the same man.
The young girls, each very distressed by what has happened to them, are to be commended for their actions in alerting police and assisting officers with the investigation.
I can appreciate this news is going to create a great deal of concern and worry, especially for parents of schoolgirls in the Kimberworth and Clifton areas. I want to reassure parents and the local communities where these incidents have happened, that we are doing everything we can to apprehend this offender.
Schools in the areas concerned have been made aware of this situation and parents and local residents are asked to remain vigilant, especially during the morning and afternoon school runs, and report to the police any suspicious activity, or anyone seen matching the description of the offender.”
Safer Neighbourhood Teams for the Kimberworth and Clifton areas will continue to be a visible presence in the local communities, especially during the morning and afternoon school runs. Rotherham’s Police Young Peoples and Partnership Officers are also working with teachers at the schools to promote personal safety advice.
Officers would like to speak to anyone who witnessed any of the incidents highlighted, or has information that may help the police with their investigation. Officers are confident that from the evidence gathered during the investigation so far, any innocent party can be quickly eliminated from the enquiry. Members of the public are actively encouraged to provide the police with any names of any men that they believe match the description given or the e-fits shown in this appeal.