WILTSHIRE Police is appealing for witnesses following a serious sexual assault which took place in Swindon town centre this morning.

A 23-year-old female was assaulted by a male close to the Debenhams store off Fleming Way shortly before 3.30am following a night out with friends in the town centre.

Following the assault, her attacker ran away from the scene.

Chief Inspector Phil Staynings said: “Firstly, I would like to commend the bravery that the victim in this incident has shown by coming forward and reporting this crime straight away. She is now receiving support from specially trained officers.

“Secondly, I would like to reassure the wider community that a robust police investigation is now well underway and Wiltshire Police will do all it can to locate the perpetrator and bring them to justice.

“It is crucial that we hear from anyone who may have information on this incident. Anyone with any information, no matter how insignificant they may think it is, should contact us immediately.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Wiltshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where information can be left anonymously.

Any victim of a sexual assault can seek support and counselling from the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) based at the New Swindon Sanctuary, The Gables, Shrivenham Road, Swindon.

The SARC is a dedicated centre offering support to any victim of a sexual assault where trained professionals can provide immediate medical care and treatment, a forensic examination, counselling and onward referral to other necessary services.

The SARC offers a 24-hour helpline on 0808 168 0024 or log onto www.newswindonsanctuary.co.uk.