THE lights in a dingy underpass where a young woman was raped are still broken.

Engineers from Essex County Council were at the scene under Broadmayne, Basildon, yesterday but failed to get the lights working again.

It comes as police launched a fresh appeal for information after a 26 year-old was followed and attacked by a man as she walked home alone on Friday night. She become aware of someone behind her as she reached the St Martins and Church Walk area at about 11pm.

The woman is now recovering at home following the vicious attack.

DI Andy Clarkson, from the Sexual Offences Investigation Team, said: "It was a busy Friday night and many people were out in the area. Did you see a man, described as skinny, average height and wearing a grey hoodie, on what was a very hot evening, acting suspiciously or see him running in The Gore area after the attack?

"We believe that this man is local to Basildon or has local knowledge of the area.

"I would appeal for anyone who knows that an associate, friend or family member, who came in on Friday night, hot and probably sweaty and possibly acting strangely, considers whether this person could be responsible for this appalling crime.”

The council made "several" attempts to fix the broken lights in the underpass behind Basildon Magistrates Court since they were first reported nearly three months ago.

It is thought severe water damage means major repairs will now be needed.

A spokesman for Essex Highways said: “We were alarmed to hear about this incident and our thoughts are, of course, with the victim.

“The safety of pedestrians using the underpass is a priority. Unfortunately, at this underpass, a number of repairs to the lighting have failed.

“The issue with the lighting was first reported to us on April 30, and repairs have been carried out on several occasions since.

“An engineer visited the site on Monday and found that a junction box had burnt out because of water damage. This was replaced.

"However, the day after it was reported that the lights were out again. Engineers were due to visit the site yesterday to reassess the situation.

“It is possible major work may be needed to repair the on-going problem.”

Anyone who can help identify the suspect is asked to contact detectives at the Rayleigh Sexual Offences Investigation Team on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.