A predatory sex attacker has been jailed thanks to the bravery of an undercover young female officer who he followed and assaulted.

On September 2 a woman was sexually assaulted while walking alone through Littlehampton town centre at night

She was followed and grabbed by a man who sexually assaulted her, pushed her to the ground and fled the scene.

The man was captured on CCTV following other women around the town centre so undercover police were then sent out.

On October 1 one of the officers, a woman in her 20s, was followed through Littlehampton town centre for more than 30 minutes along Sea Road and into Harsfold Road.

Wearing a face covering, Mark Stankus chased after her, grabbed and assaulted her.

He was caught by officers as he tried to flee.

The Argus: Mark StankusMark Stankus (Image: Sussex Police)



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Sussex Police DI Amanda Zinyama said: "Mark Stankus is a dangerous, predatory offender who posed a clear and repeated risk to women in Littlehampton.

The Argus: The route along which Stankus stalked a female officerThe route along which Stankus stalked a female officer (Image: Sussex Police)

“The bravery shown by this young female police officer to help catch him cannot be overstated.

“She sacrificed her own safety to trap Stankus and put him behind bars. The streets of Sussex are safer as a result.

“I would also like to thank Stankus’s first victim for reporting her frightening ordeal to police and supporting this investigation through to its conclusion.

“This sentence should send a clear message to other predatory offenders that we will stop at nothing to keep the public safe and bring you to justice.”

Stankus, 44, pleaded guilty to sexual assault and causing actual bodily harm and was jailed for eight years, as well as receiving a restraining order and being registered as a sex offender for life.

Detective Chief Superintendent Richard McDonagh said: “This investigation is a prime example of how seriously we at Sussex Police take all reports of sexual assault.

“Initial enquiries into the first incident suggested a dangerous individual was at large, and a dedicated patrol strategy was swiftly put in place to apprehend him.

“The coordinated operation brought together a number of teams, making sure we had officers in the right area, at the right time, to make an arrest.

“I would like to commend all involved for their outstanding work in making the streets of Littlehampton a safer place.”