AN INVESTIGATION has been launched after a 15-year-old girl was raped in Basingstoke.

The girl said she was walking alone, in the direction of a footbridge, when she was approached by an unknown man on a bike who grabbed her and raped her. The girl then made her way home.

The incident took place at around 8.30pm on Monday, 22 January in the woodland near a path that runs from Stratfield Road to the footbridge over Ringway North and into Popley.

The man has been described as white, of large build, aged between 30-40-years-old, styled, full, short beard and speaking with an eastern European accent.

He was wearing a dark green woolly hat, a blue rain jacket, black tracksuit bottoms and work boots. He was riding a mountain bike as he approached the girl.

Detective Inspector Penny Murray, from the Amberstone Team, said: "An investigation is underway to establish exactly what happened, so we are keen to speak to anyone who was in this area at the time.

"The woodland lies behind the Tesco Express store in Oakridge Road, so it is likely there will have been people nearby.

"Do you remember seeing anyone matching the description given? Did you see anything suspicious? Please come forward and speak to us as any information you may hold could be important.

"The footbridge leads to the Abbey Road area of Popley, so it’s possible residents there may have noticed something unusual.

"I would also like to hear from anyone in the area who has a private CCTV system, or who was driving in this area with a dash cam.

"Understandably the victim distressed and is currently being supported by specialist officers.

"Incidents such as this are rare and people should stay alert, not alarmed.

"We have increased police patrols in the area to provide reassurance in the community and would urge anyone who may have information to speak to us."

Specialist officers are currently working with the girl and her family.

An area of the path and woodland has been cordoned off while officers investigate.

Anyone with information should call police on 101, quoting 44180028837.