POLICE are appeal for witnesses following serious sexual assault.

A woman is in hospital with serious facial injuries and a broken arm following a sexual assault early this morning.

The woman was walking along Borough Road on the North Ormesby Fly-Over above Lytton Street, Middlesbrough, when she was pushed to the ground, punched and sexually assaulted.

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A male member of the public came to her aid, chasing the suspect who ran off towards North Ormesby.

The suspect is described as a man with creamy coloured skin, 20-30 years old, 6ft tall, of slim build, with mousy coloured hair. He was wearing a white hoodie and light blue jeans.

Police know several vehicles passed the scene and are appealing for anyone who may have seen the suspect running off to contact them.

Detectives would also like to hear from anyone who may have seen a suspicious man in the area in the hours leading up to the incident.

Detective Inspector Mark Dimelow said: “This was a particularly vicious attack on a vulnerable woman who was simply walking to work.

"I would like to reassure the public that this kind of incident is extremely rare and that we are dedicated to identifying and arresting the offender.”

Contact Cleveland Police on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800-555-111.