HAMPSHIRE police are investigating after two women were stabbed in the chest in separate attacks more than a week apart.

A man attacked a 45-year-old woman as she walked her dog on a wooded footpath at around 11.20am this morning.

It comes nine days after a 20-year-old was injured in a near identical assault.

It is not yet clear what weapon was used but the women’s injuries indicate that it was a knife.

Detectives are looking into whether the attacks in Portsmouth are linked.

Detective Inspector Mark Tutton said: “This type of unprovoked attack is extremely unusual, particularly two similar incidents in the north of the city in just over a week. We are obviously investigating the possibility that these are linked.

“We need to identify the person responsible and I would encourage anyone who may be able to help us do this to contact us as soon as possible. We would also appeal to anyone who may have witnessed the assault to come forward.

“Reassurance patrols by local Safer Neighbourhoods teams in the Hilsea area are ongoing.”

The 45-year-old woman was walking her dog on a wooded footpath along the shoreline of Ports Creek in Hilsea, to the east of a footbridge which crosses from Peronne Road to the Highbury estate.

She was approached by a man who assaulted her before running off towards Hilsea Lines.

The woman sustained a stab wound to her chest as a result of the incident. Her injury is not described as life threatening and she is being treated at Queen Alexandra hospital, Cosham.

Searches on the ground and by air followed the report. No arrest has been made.

The offender is described as white, in his early 20s and wearing a blue hooded top with yellow writing and blue jeans.

A similar report was made at around 10.40pm on June 20 when a 20-year-old woman sustained a wound to her chest when she was assaulted by a man as she walked along Southampton Road, Cosham near Ashurst Road. The woman also sustained non-life threatening injuries.

Anyone with information about either incident should contact CID at Fratton police station on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.