Young women have been urged to be careful during nights out in Middlesbrough, following two reports of rape in the town.
Detectives investigating the sex attacks have confirmed they are linking the two incidents.
A 19-year-old woman was picked up by a taxi driver in the Tollesby Road area in the early hours of Wednesday 8th August.
She was in a distressed state, and told police she had been raped at a nearby address.
Police received a second report of rape from a 20-year-old woman at around 2.20am on Wednesday 17th October, also in the area of Tollesby Road.
The woman had been on a night out with friends at The Keys Night Spot on Linthorpe Road shortly before the attack.
Chief Inspector Dave Lamplough says:
"Our priority is to catch the person responsible for these terrible crimes as quickly as possible, but we need the public's help. Perhaps you have been on a night out and seen a man acting suspiciously in or around a pub or club.
He may even have been behaving normally - in conversation with the victims and have left with her, in a taxi or private motor vehicle.
I would urge people enjoying a night out to take the usual sensible precautions, stay with your friends and have a plan for the end of the night, how are you going to get home, do you have money put aside for a taxi, have you booked a taxi, is your phone charged or topped up?
– Chief Inspector Dave Lamplough, Middlesbrough Police
I would also advise people to drink responsibly and do not leave drinks unattended in case they are spiked. Only accept a drink from someone you know and trust, and look out for your friends; stay with them and don't go off on your own.
Make arrangements to meet up, either during or at the end of the night so that you can be sure everyone gets back home safely.
Finally, if you are using a taxi or mini-cab to get home, make sure it is properly licensed.
The car should have a licence plate displayed on the back and the driver should have an identification badge.