CCTV images have been released of a car, the driver of which detectives believe could hold valuable information in catching a violent rapist.

Detectives earlier revealed that a young woman who was dragged into woodland as she walked home from work was raped by a man threatening her with a weapon.

The driver of the dark saloon car is not a suspect, say officers investigating the crime.

As the hunt for the rapist was stepped up, officers investigating the terrifying attack in Sholing have been gathering evidence through extensive door-to-to-door enquiries and trawling through hours of CCTV footage.

As previously reported by the Daily Echo, the 29-year-old was returning to her car which was parked in Cypress Avenue when she was approached by a man, who threatened her with a weapon.

The man forced her to a nearby woodland area near Merryoak Road where he carried out the rape.

CCTV footage has allowed detectives to pinpoint the exact time of the attack, which happened between 2.16am and 2.25am.

Footage has also identified a dark saloon car which was caught on camera at around 2.30am, a few minutes after the victim has driven home after the attack, which drives from Merryoak Road into Deacon Road.

Detectives are urging the driver of the car to come forward as they could hold vital clues which could assist police catch their man.

They are also keen to speak to a man and a woman who were heard arguing outside by a resident living in Acacia Road, which is behind the woodland where the rape took place.

They were arguing for around 20 minutes at around 2.30am and officers are confident that this was not connected to the attack.

However, these two people may have seen or heard something that could help police in their manhunt and detectives are also appealing for this couple to come forward.

Detective Inspector Jim Park, who is leading the investigation, said: “We would like to speak to these people because they may have seen or heard something that can help us with this investigation.

“The car was a few minutes behind the victim but the driver may have spotted something that will assist us in catching the person responsible, while the couple arguing may have noticed something unusual that could help us.”

The attacker is described as white, in his early 30s, around 5ft 8in to 5ft 9in with short dark hair and of medium build.

He was clean-shaven and wearing a dark-coloured jumper and jeans.

Anyone with information should contact Hampshire police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.