Police urge public to stay vigilant over canal towpath incidents

RESIDENTS are being urged to report suspicious incidents happening on the Basingstoke Canal towpath, following the arrest of a man for indecent exposure on the popular walking and cycling route.

The 46-year-old, from Woking, was taken into custody on Friday last week for an offence that took place on the path last month. The suspect was later released on police bail.

Woking Borough Commander, Inspector David Bently has said Surrey Police are doing everything in their power to find the perpetrators

“We are urging the public to continue to be aware,” said a Surrey Police spokesman. “Several offences taking place along the towpath have been reported over the last 18 months and we believe they have been committed by different offenders.”

The incidents have included men exposing themselves and people being approached in a suspicious and intimidating manner. Different descriptions of the suspects have been given on several occasions.

The most recent reported incident involved a sexual exposure at around 8pm on Thursday, 17 December.

The victim was crossing the canal bridge near Lockfield Drive when the suspect exposed himself to her. He was described as in his 20s, white, around 6ft tall and wearing a dark grey hooded top and black sports trousers.

Surrey Police say suspicious behaviour or incidents should be reported by calling 999 as soon as it is safe to do so.

The Woking borough commander, Inspector Dave Bentley, added: “Police will be continuing to patrol the area and I want to reiterate that my team is doing everything they can to identify those responsible.”

Police officers have also been working with Woking Borough Council, Basingstoke Canal Society, Neighbourhood Watch and local people to set up Canal Watch, an initiative which will involve volunteers patrolling the towpath and reporting any concerns.

Information which could help the police investigation can be given by calling 101, via www.surrey.police.uk or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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