NEIGHBOURS have spoken of their shock after a 62-year-old woman was sexually assaulted in Sunderland.
The woman was making her way back from the city centre when a man grabbed her and assaulted her during a terrifying attack.
She suffered facial injuries during her struggle as she passed a bus shelter near a wooded area in Trimdon Street, which runs parallel to Alliance Place.
She was taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital for treatment.
Police described the attack as “nasty” and said the victim is recovering after being left extremely shaken.
Officers carried out door-to-door inquiries as they continued their investigation to trace the attacker.
Patrols in the area have also been stepped up in a bid to reassure residents who have been left shocked by the incident, which happened at about 5.50pm on Thursday.
Lily Evans, 62, who lives in nearby Rose Street, said: “She was the same age as me and I often walk along there on my way back from work at about the same time so it’s frightening.
“It could easily have been me.
“You wouldn’t think something like this would happen on a busy road like that at that time of the day.
“You would think you’d be safe.
“It just goes to show.”
Syd Samson, 44, of Hylton Road, said: “The police have been around here calling on the houses and in the shops.
“We weren’t in when it happened so we didn’t see anything, but it sounds awful and we really feel for the woman.”
Adam Phelon, 29, of Pallion, regularly uses the row of shops near where the attack took place.
He said: “It’s disgusting and with the dark nights now it’s frightening.
“I hope they catch the person who did this because they need to be locked up.”
The attacker is described as about 6ft tall, of 25 to 30-years-old and with short brown hair.
Neighbourhood Inspector Neal Craig, from Northumbria Police, said: “This was a nasty attack on a woman in the early hours of the evening and understandably the victim has been left incredibly shaken by the assault.
“We’re carrying out extensive inquiries to identify who is responsible and would urge anyone who was in the area at the time to contact police.
“Information we receive from members of the public could prove crucial.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Northumbria Police on 03456 043 043 ex 69191 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.