A RAPE that took place on a layby on the A4 in Thatcham this week has led to police releasing a new appeal for witnesses.

At around midnight on Monday, August 16, Thames Valley Police responded to reports that a woman had been raped in a layby on the A4, Thatcham, opposite Cox's Lane at the junction.

ALSO READ: Police cordon off road after woman is raped opposite hotel

According to the victim, she was driving along the road when she saw an empty child's car seat in the layby, causing her to stop, out of concern for a child she thought might be at risk.

It has not been confirmed whether the empty child's car seat has any link to the offence, but officers are urging residents not to stop if they see anything suspicious by the roadside or in the road.

If you do see anything suspicious, the police are asking residents to take notes and inform them so they can inspect safely.

Officers are also again appealing for witnesses.

Reading Chronicle:

Investigating officer Detective Inspector Alice Broad, said: “The investigation is working at pace to identify the suspect of this offence. The victim has provided a full account of the incident and is being supported by specially trained officers.

ALSO READ: Man banned from meeting young girls met 14-year-old girl days after prison release

“Due to the victim’s account, we are now in a position to provide further information to the public. We can confirm that we believe the offender was not known to the victim.

“The victim was driving on the A4 before the offence occurred. She stopped her vehicle at the scene because she saw a child’s car seat in a layby and was concerned there might be a child at risk because the car seat was empty.

“Thames Valley Police is working to understand the significance of the child’s car seat and whether it is linked to the offence. However, to ensure the safety of the public, we would advise that if you see anything in a road or on the roadside that concerns you, make a note of the precise location and call Thames Valley Police on 101. The force can then make appropriate checks.

“We are appealing to anyone with footage or information to please come forward. No matter how insignificant you think your information might be, please provide it to the police or anonymously to Crimestoppers.

“We would like to hear from anyone with footage, whether dashcam, mobile phone or CCTV, from the A4 in Thatcham between about 11pm on Sunday, August 15 until about 12.15am on Monday, August 16.

“Anyone with information should call 101 or you can report online quoting reference Op Fax 43210366130.

“Alternatively, you can make a report anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online.

ALSO READ: Former police officer in hot water after testing positive for cannabis while on duty

“This is a concerning incident and one that has understandably caused anxiety in the local community. However, such offences are extremely rare and a thorough investigation is underway to identify the offender.

“You will see more officers out and about in the area and I urge you to speak with them if you have any questions or concerns that you wish to raise. Alternatively, you can contact your local neighbourhood team online or on 101.

“If you would like to speak to someone about any emotions invoked by this incident, there are a number of independent charities that can offer help and support including: Victims First, Trust House, Rape Crisis, and Mind.”