A 12-year-old girl was attacked by a baseball-bat wielding thug as she made her way home from school.
Police are hunting a six-foot man after the attack on a footpath adjacent to Sandrock Park, just off the Ridge, in Hastings.
The girl was walking home from school between 3.30pm and 4.15pm on Monday (January 27) when she was approached by the “very skinny” man.
He hit her over the head with what she described as a “baseball-type bat”.
She screamed and ran off, and the man disappeared.
The girl was badly shaken but sustained only a minor head injury and did not need hospital treatment.
He is described as white, in his 40s, over 6', very skinny and with a mouse-like face. He was wearing dark clothing with a hood pulled up.
Detective Inspector Gavin Patch said: "We are particularly keen to trace some people we think may be vital witnesses.
"One is a man described as white, in his fifties or sixties, smart, in a light coloured striped suit and smart shoes, who was walking along that same path shortly before the attack.
"We also want to trace a group of four men who were seen to emerge from the footpath on to The Ridge, again shortly before the attack, and walk towards the Robert de Mortain pub.
“As they reached the pub they were seen to be overtaken by a man running away from the area of the footpath, who may be the suspect.”
He added: “I stress that we seek all these people as valuable witnesses, and if they recognise themselves from these descriptions, can they please contact us right away.
"The motive for the attack is not clear at this early stage.
“We have had no other similar reports in the area recently and at present this appears to be an isolated incident, but we are increasing police presence in the area and assure local people that everything possible is being done to find this man."
Anyone with information should contact Sussex Police on 101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org quoting Operation Adare.
Alternatively call charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.