A PERVERT who indecently assaulted an eight-year-old girl and exposed himself to her friends was being hunted by police last night.

Detectives in Darlington are examining security camera footage to try to identify the man, who subjected the four children to a sickening ordeal.

Two eight-year-old girls and two boys, aged five and eight, were in the play area on the town's Red Hall estate when a man on a bicycle approached and began talking to them.

He began pushing one of the girls on the swing and, as he did so, touched her on the bottom twice.

He then sat on the swing, exposed himself to the youngsters and then committed a sex act.

The man asked the children if they wanted to join in, and when they said no, he moved to sit on a climbing frame and made further indecent suggestions.

The shocked children went home to their parents, who immediately contacted police.

Detective Constable Jenny Gardiner, of Darlington CID, said the play area at Red Hall was usually well used by children, but that only the four youngsters were present at the time.

She said: "We are looking at CCTV tapes to see if there is anything on there, and all the schools in the area have been contacted by us."

The incident took place on Tuesday, between 4pm and 5pm, in the play park, which is between Red Hall Primary School and Coombe Drive.

The offender was aged 30 to 40, with dark, collar-length curly hair and a moustache. He may have a gold tooth.

He wore a dark baseball cap, sunglasses, a green jumper with black stripes down the sleeves, black tracksuit bottoms, training shoes and black cycling gloves. His bike was blue.

Det Con Gardiner appealed to anyone with information about the incident to call her or Det Con Gary Walton on (01325) 467681.

Alternatively, call Crime-stoppers in confidence on 0800 555 111.