Woman raped in late night attack

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A man has been arrested on suspicion of rape following a horrifying attack on a woman as she made her way back from a night out in Blackpool.

Police investigating a “serious sexual assault” are now appealing for information following the incident on Loftos Avenue, South Shore.

The victim had been drinking in the town centre and got separated from her boyfriend before she got into a taxi with four people she recognised from one of the bars she had been in.

Rather than being taken back to the hotel where she was staying, she ended up in an unfamiliar part of town with one of the men from the taxi in the early hours of Thursday.

Police say her attacker pinned her up against the side of a property on Loftos Avenue, some time between 2am and 4am, where the assault took place.

Det Sgt Mark Dickinson said: “This is a horrendous attack on a female who wasn’t aware of her surroundings and had been separated from her boyfriend earlier in the evening. The victim is obviously very upset and shaken – she is in a bad way.

“We are very keen to identify the other occupants of the taxi she was in.”

Detectives say the victim, who has since returned home to Scotland, believes she had been talking to the group – either four men or three men and a woman – earlier in the evening.

Det Sgt Dickinson said: “She got into the taxi believing they were going to drop her off at her hotel.

“She then got out in an area unknown to her and becomes separated from the rest of the group with one of the males that was in the taxi.

“She was then subjected to a sexual assault down the side of a property on Loftos Avenue.

“Attacks such as this are very unusual and a wide-scale investigation is underway. We would encourage anybody out in town to be cautious and ensure they don’t allow themselves to get in harm’s way.”

Police confirmed a 25-year-old man from Blackpool was arrested yesterday on suspicion of rape.

Anybody with information about the assault is urged to contact police by calling 101.