A WOMAN was raped in a Bournemouth park in broad daylight as people walked and played football nearby.

Police are calling for information after a woman in her 30s told police she was attacked in Kings Park at around 9.30am on Saturday, September 9.

The victim had been walking through the park when she was approached by a man, who she believed to be in his late 30s or early 40s.

She described the man as white, and said he had ginger hair, which he was wearing in a ponytail. He was wearing a black leather jacket and black jeans, she told police.

The man raped the woman before she was able to get away from him, officers say.

Following the rape, he left the park via Ashley Road in the direction of Holdenhurst Road.

A 41-year-old Bournemouth man has been arrested on suspicion of rape. He was later released under investigation.

Detective Constable Will Burnett, of the Serious Sexual Offences Unit, called for members of the public who were in the park on the morning of the incident will come forward.

“We are aware that there were a number of other people walking through Kings Park or playing football in the area around the time of the incident,” he said.

“We would urge anyone who witnessed the incident or any suspicious activity in the area around the time of the offence to please contact us.”

Officers from the local neighbourhood policing team can be contacted with any community concerns.

Ward councillor Christopher Rochester said: “The council has measures in place to keep our parks as safe as possible.

“I am surprised and shocked by this incident, and in particular that it happened at 9.30am.

“I am sure the council will take all action deemed necessary to keep people safe in the borough’s parks.”

Cllr Phil Stanley-Watts, of the neighbouring Boscombe West ward, said he was “devastated” to hear of the attack.

“Kings Park is usually a very safe place,” he said.

“Obviously, if anyone knows anything about it at all, I’d urge them to call the police immediately.

“It’s devastating to hear this.”

Members of the public walking through the park also spoke of their shock.

Nicky Smith, a dog trainer from Iford who has lived in the area all her life, said: “It’s horrifying to hear. You don’t have as many people in the park as you used to, there is a lot of dog walkers but even so.

“They could do with bringing back a park warden who might be able to prevent these sort of incidents.”

Fliss Garnett-Brown, also from Iford, said: “You have a lot of schools and children coming through here.

“It’s concerning because it could have happened to a child.”

A woman from Southbourne who did not wish to be named, said: “It makes you a little bit frightful because I am here two or three times a week in the daytime.

“I’m a woman in my fifties and it makes me feel vulnerable.

“The park could do with something like a notice board to give people a number to contact if they have concerns or worries.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police at dorset.police.uk or by calling 101, quoting occurrence number 55170140439.