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Two sexual assaults in one night in Copthorne as Police begin hunt for man

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Police are investigating after a man forced his way into a woman’s home and sexually assaulted her by touching in Copthorne near Crawley.

They also believe he touched another woman in the street shortly afterwards.

At about 4pm on Friday (12 July), a man called at a woman’s house in Newtown and asked where the nearest bus stop was. He then barged his way in and touched her. She pushed him out and locked the front door. He then carried on knocking on the door before leaving.

Officers responded immediately and carried out a search of the area but could not find the man. A short time later another woman reported that a man had approached her asking for a hug and then touched her as she tried to get into her car in Knowle Drive, Copthorne, at about 4.05pm. She shouted at him and he ran off.

The suspect is described as white, aged about 20, 5′ 9″, slim, with light brown hair and was wearing a white buttoned up shirt, dark trousers and carrying a dark coloured backpack.

Detective Sergeant Joel Brooks said:

“These incidents were frightening and distressing for the victims and we are keen to hear from anyone who may have seen this man hanging around or approaching the women.

“We are carrying out searches, making enquiries and have police officers in the area.”

If you can help with the investigation please report online or ring 101 quoting serial of 1078 of 12/7.

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Give Crawley back its police, demands towns council leader

Crawley Council Leader Peter Lamb has called for the Prime Minister to return funding to Crawley’s police after he says new figures show cuts to police budgets are much higher than the new funding recently announced.

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In a press statement Cllr Lamb says that Sussex Police have lost 32.3% of their funding from central government, leaving local policing in a weakened state.

Speaking about the state of policing in Crawley, Cllr Lamb said:

“Following the loss of frontline officers, crime and antisocial behaviour are now the top issues residents raise with me on the doorstep. They are tired of seeing it in our town centre and across Crawley’s neighbourhoods. Only the police have the power to end the decline and only the Government has the funding to give us the officers we need.

“We deserve more from our Prime Minister than empty promises, it’s time he learnt to keep his word and gave Crawley back its police.”

Crawley Labour adds that this news comes on the back of recent revelations that despite 98% of police officers lost from the service in recent years having been cut from the frontline, around 7,000 police recruits will never see frontline duty.

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