POLICE have stepped up patrols after a man was raped near a popular park.

The victim, who police have described as a man in his late teens, was attacked in Old Heath Road, close to the recreation ground, at 2.30am yesterday.

Officers remained at the scene throughout the day and an investigation has been launched.

Read more >>> Man raped in Old Heath Road, Colchester

Colchester Council public safety boss Mike Lilley (Lab) said he was horrified by what had happened.

“It is horrendous,” he said.

“My thoughts go out to the victim and I hope he is getting all the support he needs.

“We were briefed that a man had been attacked in the early hours by another man.

“You can only hope that he will be brought to justice, and hope this happens incredibly quickly.”

Mr Lilley said he welcomed police stepping up patrols, but warned they could not be everywhere.

“It is difficult to predict when an attack like this will happen,” he said.

“The police are still stretched, pubs are reopening every day, but they will provide reassurance.

“The problems we associate with the rec are littering, drinking and dogs annoying people - nothing like this.”

Mr Lilley urged anyone who noticed anything unusual to call police immediately.

“There are houses nearby and some people will have cameras,” he said.

“Anyone who heard shouting or saw anything unusual should get in touch with them.”

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “Officers will be carrying out extra patrols and inquiries in the area as part of the investigation.”

Anyone who has any information is asked to call us on 101, quoting incident 82 of 8 July.

Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously 0800 555 111.