PUB staff and customers are being chaperoned when leaving late at night after reports of women being followed home and a rape.

The incidents have prompted The Long Man of Wilmington in Carden Avenue, Patcham, to display customer notices warning women to avoid walking home alone. Staff have been escorting each other to bus stops or offering lifts and putting customers in taxis late at night in a bid to keep people safe.

It comes after a relative of a staff member believed someone in a car tried to follow her home, another woman reported a man watching her and a third was raped nearby in London Road.

The pub’s note said: “There have been several serious incidents involving assaults on women in the Patcham area, mainly occurring in the vicinity of pubs.

“Most recently, a young lady was targeted by a cream Mini which drove past her several times before pulling alongside her. Fortunately she was able to run away and is safe, however we would strongly recommend you take a taxi home, or at the very least do not walk home alone, especially at night.”

The note urged anyone concerned to report suspicious behaviour or incidents to the police.

A woman reported a man staring at her just before 9.30am on Friday as she walked along Carden Avenue. Police said she approached another member of the public and asked to be escorted to her destination. The man was white, believed to be aged between 30 and 40, 6ft, stocky and with short blond hair.

Managers at both the Long Man and nearby sister establishment the Ladies Mile pub in Mackie Avenue have said the teams take customer and staff welfare seriously but stressed it was not unsafe to visit the establishments.

The news comes as police appealed for witnesses after a woman was raped about a mile away.

The 44-year-old victim was walking along the A23 London Road towards Brighton from the BP roundabout in Patcham at around 12.30am on Sunday, June 25, when she was approached by a man.

She was on the pavement when her attacker, who may have come from the other side of the road, tried to talk to her. He linked arms with her but then pushed her to the ground, threatening and raping her. The attacker was white, in his twenties or thirties with mousy hair, wearing a dark jacket, jeans and dark blue trainers.

Call police on 101 quoting 356 of 08/09 if you have information on the incident in Carden Avenue or Operation Attwood if you have information about the rape.