A young woman's screams for help were ignored while she was being raped in a park after a night out.

The 21-year-old took a shortcut through Blackhill and Consett Park after drinking in Trades nightclub in John Street, Consett, County Durham, early yesterday.

She left shortly after 2am when the club closed and made her way home, but became separated from her friend and headed off alone.

Police revealed last night that revellers who were in the park at the time of the assault did not go to her aid. They are appealing for them to come forward.

The woman walked from Victoria Road to Park Road and struck up a conversation with a man who expressed concern for her welfare. They parted company and she cut through the park to go home.

After entering the park she was confronted by a man who stared at her.

She spoke to him briefly and tried to go on her way, but after a few paces she was thrown face down to the ground.

She struggled and screamed for help, but the man overpowered her and she was subjected to a vicious sexual attack and raped.

She was left unconscious with her clothes scattered at the scene of the attack. When she came round, she ran to a cottage at the bottom of the park and raised the alarm.

She was deeply traumatised by the ordeal and required treatment at the University Hospital of North Durham, in Durham City.

She has since been released from hospital.

The park was closed yesterday and a hunt to catch the rapist is under way.

Police were carrying out house-to-house inquiries in Park Road and Queens Gate and are studying security camera footage for clues to his identity.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil Malkin said the victim has undergone a horrific attack after being confronted by a stranger.

He said: "We believe the man responsible is in his twenties and spoke with a local accent. Clearly, we need to find him as quickly as possible."

Det Chief Insp Malkin said the attack took place in sight of the nearby main road and, despite the fact her screams could be heard, no one had gone to help her.

He said: "During the struggle the victim was aware that there were people in the area and we know from our inquiries so far that there were people in the park from 2am to 5am.

"We need to speak to them all as a matter of urgency and anyone who saw anyone acting suspiciously in the area around the park."

Residents and revellers spoke of their shock at hearing the news of the attack.

A 33-year-old office manager from Laburnum Avenue said she had been at Trades on Saturday night and walked home alone past the park.

She said: "I can look into the park from my house and the fact something like this can happen is frightening.

"You don't trust anyone, especially if you are walking home alone."

Anyone with information is asked to call Consett CID on 0845 60 60 365, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.