AN urgent appeal been issued by detectives attempting to trace a man wanted in connection with an attempted rape in Middlesbrough.

Cleveland Police has released a picture of 26-year-old Cezar Florea, who is of Romanian origin and has links to the Stockton, Middlesbrough and London areas, after the victim suffered serious injuries.

The brutal attack happened as a 51-year-old woman was walking to work at about 6am on Saturday, June 7 on the A66 North Ormesby flyover near Lytton Street.

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She suffered serious injuries, including a broken shoulder and broken nose and underwent hospital treatment. The victim remained in hospital for more than a week for treatment to her injuries including an operation of her broken shoulder.

A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “We would like to speak to him as a matter of urgency in relation to the incident. He may have tried to change his appearance by growing a beard or moustache. Members of the public are asked not to approach him, but to call 999 if they see him.”

Detectives received about 20 calls and had more than 20,000 views of the footage on the force’s social media services, while a further 4,000 people viewed still images of the man when they released CCTV images earlier this month.

The victim was saved from a potentially more brutal attack when a man came to her aid, chasing the suspect who ran off towards North Ormesby.

A 29-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of attempted rape in the West Yorkshire area and was later released on police bail, but he has since been eliminated from police inquiries.

Following the attack, Detective Sergeant Jon Hagen, of the Major Crime Team, appealed for anyone who saw the man in Middlesbrough town centre, especially the Linthorpe and Borough Roads area, from about 4am up to 6am to come forward.

He said: “It may be that people may have been out socialising or travelling to or from work and they have seen this man in the town centre or hanging around between there and the North Ormesby flyover.”

Anyone who may have information as to Cezar Florea’s whereabouts is asked to contact Cleveland Police on 101.