A JOGGER told police she was sexually assaulted at knifepoint as she answered a cry for help on Seaburn seafront.
The 33-year-old was running along the promenade when she heard the calls and went to investigate, where she was attacked.
After the ordeal the victim was able to make her way back up to Whitburn Bents Road, where she called police.
Northumbria Police say she is now being assisted by specially-trained officers.
Majer Jurek, 69, who lives in Whitburn Bents Road, said: “We were going to bed at about 11.30pm and my wife and I saw the police cars along the road.
“There were about four or five of them and a police van, which drove off and then an ambulance arrived, stayed for a minute and then drove off.
“There has been a car sat here and one further along ever since.”
One 61-year-old man, who was out walking his dogs on the beach on Saturday morning and who didn’t want to be named, said: “I came down and saw all this as I walked along.
“It’s shocking that whatever happened, happened here.
“This is normally a good, quiet area – somewhere that people feel safe.”
“I’m surprised as well as the beach is generally quite busy all year round.”
A spokeswoman for Northumbria Police, who are investigating the reports, said: “Police are carrying out inquiries and are appealing for anyone who was in the area at the time and who may have seen or heard anything to contact them straight away.”
The incident happened at around 6.45pm on Friday and led to two sections of grass, paths and steps leading down to the beach being cordoned off between South Bents Road and Bransdale Avenue.
Police remained on the scene on Saturday as the investigation got under way.
Detectives are continuing to appeal for witnesses to the attack and are urging anyone who saw anything to call them on 03456 043 043 ext 69191 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.