A WOMAN was raped in the early hours in the vicinity of a busy main road in Poole.

Dorset Police has launched an investigation over the sexual assault, which took place between 4.45am and 6am on Sunday, September 5, in the area of Poole Road, Branksome.

It is understood the victim, aged in her 30s, was approached by an unknown man in the Triangle area of Bournemouth and he travelled with her along Poole Road through Westbourne and onto Branksome where the offence took place. The victim raised the alarm with nearby residents.

The suspect is described as white, with short dark hair and was wearing a dark hooded jacket with white symbols on it, light blue jeans and black shoes. He was on a bicycle.

Police are appealing for witnesses and anyone with dashcam footage to come forward.

Detective Inspector Simon Huxter, of the Major Crime Investigation Team, said: “A full investigation is underway into this incident and officers are continuing to support the victim while we carry out our enquiries.

“I am appealing to anyone who was in the area of Poole Road at the relevant time and either witnessed the incident or saw a man matching the description given immediately afterwards to please contact Dorset Police.

“The victim and suspect travelled from The Triangle, through Westbourne and into Branksome and I would ask motorists, including taxi drivers, to please check their dashcam footage to see if they captured them on camera and contact us immediately if they have anything that might assist our investigation.

“This incident will understandably cause concern for the wider community and we would like to remind the public that officers from the local neighbourhood policing team will be carrying out patrols in the area and can be approached with any concerns."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk, via email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101, quoting occurrence number 55210143405. Alternatively, to stay 100 per cent anonymous, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers online at Crimestoppers-uk.org or call Freephone 0800 555 111.