DETECTIVES in Bishop Auckland want to trace a man captured on security cameras talking to a teenage girl shortly before she was attacked in the town earlier this month.

Officers investigating the serious assault of an 18-year-old want to question the man, who walked with the victim through the town centre immediately before the incident. The girl left the Postchaise pub at around 1am on Sunday, October 3, and went towards the market place, where a man struck up a conversation with her.

The pair walked up Newgate Street for about 400 yards before the girl left the man to turn into an alleyway between Boots and the Natwest bank to look for a a taxi in Kingsway to go home.

She was then dragged into a private car park where the unprovoked assault took place and the assailant fled the scene.

The victim was left with cuts and scratches and was traumatised by the incident. She was later examined by a police surgeon.

The teenager and the man were captured on town centre closed-circuit surveillance cameras and an image of the man police want to question has been released by officers.

DC Andy Crowe, of Bishop Auckland CID, is appealing for the man to come forward or members of the public to help identify him to help with police enquiries.

He said: "We believe this man can help piece together exactly what happened and would like to speak to him as a matter of urgency."

Anyone with information about the identity of the man is asked to contact Bishop Auckland police on (01388) 603566 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.