A MAN was last night in police custody after a woman suffered a serious sexual assault in York city centre.

The victim, a local woman in her early 20s, was walking home alone from a night out when she was attacked on steps leading down from Skeldergate Bridge to Tower Gardens, just after 1.30am yesterday.

A 23-year-old man was arrested in the Boroughbridge Road area at 12.50pm yesterday. He remains in police custody, but police said they still wanted to hear from any possible witnesses.

Detective Inspector Andrea Kell, of York CID, said: “If you were in the Skeldergate Bridge area of York at around 1.30am on Monday and possibly recall seeing a man and woman, I urge you to come forward immediately as you may have vital information which could help the investigation.

“I am particularly keen to speak to anyone who may have seen a woman trying to flag down vehicles on Skeldergate Bridge shortly after the incident. Again, please do not delay in contacting the police.”

Detectives had said they were looking for a white man, in his 20s, possibly wearing a tracksuit, who the victim did not know, but had walked alongside for a short time prior to the assault.

Officers remained at the scene, which was cordoned off, throughout yesterday while forensic examinations and searches took place.

A police spokesman said the woman raised the alarm herself, and was receiving support from specially-trained police officers.

He also said local police patrols had been stepped up “to offer reassurance to the local community”.

Anyone with information which could help police should phone York CID on 101, email yorkcid@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk or phone Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 5551111.