Detectives believe a rapist who dragged a teenager off the street lives near the scene of the attack – and may have struck before.

Sussex Police are still working to identify this man, whose picture they released last week.

They are following up leads supplied by the public urging anyone else who can help to get in touch.

The 17-year-old victim was grabbed at about 12.30am on February 15 as she walked past the Booth Museum in Dyke Road.

She was dragged across the street and into the park, where she was raped.

She managed to escape the attacker and alerted staff at Tesco Express, who called police.

The rapist was described as olive-skinned, in his 30s, stocky, close shaven, with short dark hair and sideburns.

Detective Chief Inspector Trevor Bowles, of Sussex Police, said the opportunism involved in the attack suggested the rapist had local knowledge and experience.

He said: “It would be unusual to be his first attack.

“He is somebody who I think is probably living or working locally.

“That is a distinct possibility”.

He repeated his plea to the public to help identify a man whose image was captured on a bus’s CCTV.

It was taken on a Number 7 bus shortly before midnight on Monday, February 14.Anyone with information is asked to call Sussex Police on 0845 6070999, quoting Operation Dublin.