DETECTIVES are investigating a serious sexual assault in York.

A 19-year-old woman was approached from behind and sexually assaulted in an alleyway off Friargate shortly after leaving Yates Wine Lodge.

The woman was walking towards the old fire station in Clifford Street when she was attacked at 9pm on Thursday.

Two suspects are believed to have been involved. Both are described as Asian and aged in their mid-twenties.

One of them was very thin, with spiky hair. The second man is described as being chubby.

Det Alan Rowan, of York CID, urged people who were waiting for a bus at the time to come forward.

He said: “I would like to thank the members of the public who have already contacted the police with information.

“I am urging anyone else who was in the area at the time, and has not yet contacted us to do so straight away. I am particularly keen to speak to anyone who was waiting for a bus on Clifford Street between 9pm and 9.45pm and ask that they contact us straight away.

“The victim is continuing to receive support from specially trained police officers as we continue our inquiries.”

Police placed a cordon around the alleyway, which runs past the Job Centre between Castlegate and Clifford Street, until 2pm on Friday.

Traders in Friargate reacted with shock to news of the attack.

Ginni Hickey, 23, of Wards the Florist, in Clifford Street, said: “It’s awful and so sad. When I found out what had happened I was really scared.

“My sister is a student in York and it’s not nice for her. She’s 19 and works in a nightclub, so this brings it home.”

Sharon Paxton, 40, from Futon Company, on Clifford Street, added: “It’s not nice and it’s happening more in York at the moment, especially at that time of night when the city is full of people.

Ed Chambers, who works for Mail Boxes ETC, said: “If it’s not violent fights and arrests on a night out it’s something like this, and it seems to be getting more common.

Josh Dixon, 23, of True Colour Sanctuary, said: “It’s disgusting and filthy. I don’t know what you can do to stop it.

“I didn’t think it would happen there because it’s not as if it’s out of the way, but you would’ve thought someone would’ve seen something.”

Colleague Lauren Roberts, 23, added: “My friend was leaving work on Thursday and came down here but was stopped by the police who walked her to the car park.”

Anyone with information about the incident should call York CID on 101, select option two, and quote reference number 12140142651.

Alternatively, information can be emailed to