Adidas helps police track sex attacker

Police issue appeal for man and trainers. Picture:  Lisa Ferguson

Police issue appeal for man and trainers. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

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DETECTIVES have enlisted the help of sportswear giant Adidas to trace the make and model of a “distinctive” tennis shoe worn by a sex attacker who indecently assaulted two women.

Officers sent foot impressions taken from the crime scenes in Livingston to the company’s German headquarters as they believed the suspect’s footwear was made by them.

The firm was able to identify his shoes as dark-coloured Adidas Adipure Essence trainers, giving investigators a potentially vital clue in tracing the sex predator who struck twice in Livingston in just over a month.

Now officers are tracing men who bought the trainers in Livingston town centre, or other nearby locations, and paid by credit or debit card.

In the first incident, a 21-year-old woman was smoking a cigarette in the garden of her home in Scott Brae at around 5.20am on April 8 when she was attacked by a man who had been hiding in bushes. She managed to fight him off and he fled into nearby woodland.

Five weeks later in the early hours of May 7, a woman was indecently assaulted by the same man after he broke into her flat. The 27-year-old was left “traumatised” after waking to find him in her bedroom.

Detectives believe the man may have been injured in the first attack when the victim fought back. He may have suffered a scratch to his back and an injury to his pinkie finger.

Detective Superintendent Pat Campbell, who is leading the inquiry, said: “We recovered foot impressions from the crime scenes and reached out to Adidas for help identifying the model of the trainers. We were informed they were specialist tennis shoes and we’re now working to determine how many were imported into the UK and where they were sold.

“We are contacting retailers to see if we can establish who has purchased these trainers in the last few years. A lot of people pay by card so that will hopefully give us a list of people to check.

“We’re asking the public to think of neighbours, friends or relatives who match the description and have these distinctive trainers. Maybe they have been acting strangely in the last few months. Perhaps they are shift workers and would be out early in the morning.”

The suspect is described as white, around 5ft 8in to 5ft 10in tall with dark hair, wearing a grey hooded top and the Adidas trainers.

Police last month issued an e-fit image of a man they wished to trace in connection with the attacks.

Det Supt Campbell said: “The man in the e-fit could be the suspect or someone totally unconnected. We still want to trace this person to eliminate him from the inquiry.”

Police are continuing to mount high-visibility patrols in Livingston, particularly in the Eliburn and Ladywell areas.

Anyone with information can contact Police Scotland on 101 or the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.