POLICE are investigating an alleged sex attack in York city-centre.

Officers have cordoned off Church Lane, which leads to Yates's Wine Lodge, behind the Spurriergate Centre, and had earlier taped off an area near The Parish pub on the corner of Micklegate and North Street until earlier this afternoon.

The alleged victim, a woman in her 20s, is being supported by specially-trained officers. The incident is said to have happened in the early hours of today.

Detective Chief Inspector Andrea Kell, of York CID, said: “The investigation is at a very early stage and I urge anyone who saw anything suspicious in the city centre in the early hours of Thursday morning to come forward with information.”

York Press:

An officer in Church Lane earlier today


York Press:

The scene in Spurriergate this morning, beside the lane leading to Yates's Wine Lodge

Residents and traders working close to the two scenes have spoken of their shock.

Street cleaner and doorman Leigh Cowling, 44, said: "This is a parent's worst nightmare and I just hope she's all right.

"I heard a lot of screaming and crying as I came over Ouse Bridge this morning.

"I was sweeping up cigarettes next to The Parish and heard the noise, then when I turned around a policeman was there and he told me not to sweep anymore.

"It's shocking really."

Olivia Moy, 18, of Sunshine beauty clinic, in Micklegate, added: "I come past there everyday on my way to work and it's unnerving to see.

"This is happening quite a lot and I never walk anywhere on my own on a night out."

York Press:

An officer outside Yates's Wine Lodge

John Wells, 24, works in Stormfront, on Coney Street.

He added: "I'm surprised it's happened so close to the centre of town and it's a sad thing that shouldn't happen.

"It's unsettling being close to where I work but I would be unsettled if it happened anywhere."

Anyone with information is urged to phone York CID on 101, email YorkCID@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk, or phone Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

More to follow...