A man has appeared in court charged with offences including sexual assault after a woman reported she had been attacked on a Sunderland street.
Police investigating the alleged sexual assault are keen to trace a couple who were approached by a man asking for a cigarette.
The incident happened in Newbold Avenue in the early hours of Sunday, February 26.
It is believed the couple were approached by the man in or around Newcastle Road, which is a short distance away, between 11pm on Saturday and 2am on Sunday.
The couple, who police believe could be key witnesses, are asked to contact Northumbria Police.
A man has been charged in connection with the incident.
John Darren Ward, aged 32, of no fixed abode, has been charged with a number of offences including robbery, sexual assault and false imprisonment.
He has appeared before South Tyneside Magistrates' Court, where he was remanded in custody.
He is next due to appear at Newcastle Crown Court on Thursday, March 30.
Anyone with information which could help police can call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.