POLICE have stepped up patrols in a west Edinburgh suburb after a teenage girl was subject to a “sickening” sexual assault while waiting for a bus.
Detectives today appealed for witnesses after the 16-year-old was approached by a man while she waited for a bus on Broomhouse Road around 9.10pm on Monday.
The man told the girl to follow him round the back of a changing pavilion just yards from the busy main road where he attacked her.
Police are scouring CCTV footage in the area and have increased patrols in the streets around the scene of the incident, just yards from a playpark, to reassure local residents.
The blue changing pavillion sits on the edge of Sighthill public park, and officers said they were keen to talk to any dog walkers who may have been in the area at the time.
The suspect was carrying a white carrier bag containing red cans, suggesting it was an opportunist attack.
Nearby residents today spoke of their horror at hearing of the attack.
One worker waiting at the same bus stop from where the girl was lured said those who lived in the area would be sickened by the attack.
She said: “It’s absolutely shocking. Just 16. I’d normally be getting the bus on a Monday but was off work yesterday.”
Another resident, who asked not to be named, said it appeared the attack had taken place in the narrow gap between the two huts.
The 66-year-old said: “A lot of young people hang around there and there are students from the college and dog walkers using the park all the time, so it’s hard to believe something like that could happen.” The suspect is described as white and in his early 30s with a skinny build. He was wearing a dark jacket and dark jeans. He was also carrying a white-coloured carrier bag containing red beer cans.
Detective Inspector Keith Fairbairn said: “This has been a sickening attack on a young girl, and a full inquiry team has been established to trace the man responsible.
“We are appealing for anyone who may have been in the Broomhouse area last night, and who may recognise the description of the suspect, to come forward.
“Although it was quite late, the area is popular with dog walkers, so there is a chance they may have seen or heard something suspicious around that time.”
Anyone with any information should contact Lothian and Borders Police on 0131-311 3131, or the charity Crimestoppers on 0800-555 111.