POLICE are stepping up patrols after reports of women being approached while out on a run.

There have been a string of similar incidences in Crawley, but Sussex Police have said they "do not believe that all of the incidents are linked".

Several women have also reported being approached by men and harassed.

On Thursday, a woman was jogging in Peterhouse Parade when a man appeared from the bushes and tried to grab her waist.

She was able to evade him and escape.

The suspect has since been described as white, in his 50s and with grey hair and a flushed face.

Just four days later police received a report of a similar incident in Haslett Avenue at 7pm.

A second woman was running when she was approached by a man. He put both arms around her waist, but she was able to break free and run to safety.

This suspect has been described to police as black and about 5ft 8in tall. He was wearing a winter coat and a black rucksack.

The next day, two more reports of women being approached be a man were made to police - this time in Woodfield Road Playing Field.

The first was at 6pm, and the second followed at 6.30pm.

In both cases, the women reported being harassed by a man who was asking a lot of unusual questions and standing too close. No physical contact was made.

The suspect has been described as an Asian man in his 30s who was slim and about 6ft tall.

He had a black beard and was reported to be wearing a sports cap and casual clothing, including “colourful, modern trainers”.

Chief Inspector Shane Baker, district commander for Crawley, said: “We understand these incidents are very worrying for those involved, and for those who live in the area.

“At this time, we are treating these as isolated incidents. We are investigating each case and following all reasonable lines of enquiry to find those responsible.

“Our officers are conducting high-visibility patrols in the town and we continue to encourage people to report any suspicious behaviour to us so we can act accordingly.”

Anyone with information about any of these incidents is asked to report to police online or by calling 101.