POLICE patrols and other security measures are being stepped up at a notorious underpass after a teenage girl reported being raped there on Saturday night.

The 18-year-old victim says she had been walking through the secluded path towards the Oasis leisure centre between 10pm and midnight when she was attacked.

She approached some local door staff at about midnight, who reported the rape to police.

The area was cordoned off for several hours on Sunday for scene of crime officers to investigate the area, and while no arrests have yet been made, inquiries are underway.

The underpass has been the scene of a number of violent muggings and assaults over the years, and last summer Aulton ‘Tom’ Rogers was murdered while using the route to cycle home from work.

Police have assured the public that efforts are being made to secure the area with patrols, CCTV and new lighting, as well as a long-term strategy to make the underpass safe.

Supintendent Andrew Carr, police commander for Swindon, said: “We have been having conversations with the council today around the environment in that area to make sure it is as safe as it should be, and our partners are doing what they can to make it safe.

“There is CCTV covering elements of the underpass and a lot of graffiti has been removed.

“There is a lot of lighting that has been put in and local maintenance is being done by Swindon Services, so we are looking at a longer-term plan. As police, we have a patrol strategy in place in the area but we cannot be there all the time. We are there when we can be and that is part of the visible patrolling we have there.

“The investigation is progressing, and these are always very difficult investigations by nature of the offence.”

Supt Carr added people should take care not to walk home alone if possible and plan sensible journeys.

“The safety advice in these situations always applies,” he said.

“If you are out and about in town you need to plan your journeys home, make sure you are not on your own.

“Make sure your phone batteries are charged and just take care of yourself on your journey home.”

Inspector Paul Saunders, of the town centre policing team, added: “There have been lots of changes recently to make this underpass a safer place to be, including the installation of CCTV cameras at each entrance.

“We will be putting in extra patrols in the local area and we would encourage people to be vigilant in the area and report anything suspicious to police.

“We continue to work hard to make Swindon a safe place for the public and we need their continued support.”

Anyone with information about the offence or who was in the area of the underpass or Station Road should call Wiltshire Police on non-emergency number 101.

As police are going through CCTV footage, they would like to hear from anyone who used the underpass between 10pm and midnight so officers can eliminate them from their inquiries.