New image of escaped sex offender Lee Cyrus on train is released

Police hunting absconder Lee Cyrus who has been linked to attacks on women in Perth have issued a new CCTV image of him on a train between Preston and Nottingham.

The image shows Cyrus on the train on October 20. Police then believe he caught a bus from Nottingham on October 20 to the Hampstead area of London

Cyrus, also known as Ivan Leach, went missing from North Sea Camp open prison, Boston, Lincolnshire on October 9 after going on day release.

The 47-year-old has been linked to two attacks on women in their own homes in Perth.

On October 14 a 68-year-old woman was attacked and robbed and the following day a 23-year-old woman was woken from her sleep by an intruder and raped.

The sex offender will feature on the wanted board of BBC1's Crimewatch programme on Wednesday.

The last confirmed sighting of Leach came from CCTV footage which shows him at a Barclay's Bank cash machine in Nottingham city centre at 11.13am on Saturday, October 20.

Detective superintendent Andy Murphy, from Lancashire Constabulary's Force Major Investigation Team, said: "At about 8.30pm on Sunday 18th November 2012 a member of the public reported a possible sighting of Lee Cyrus in the area of St Marys Street close to HMP Preston in the Deepdale area of Preston.

"At this time Leach is believed to have approached a street worker and engaged her in conversation before walking off along St Marys Street in the direction of New Hall Lane.

"Leach is described as having dark stubble on his face wearing a black hooded fleece type top and light grey jogging bottoms that were elasticised at the ankle. He also wore black training shoes.

"I want to reassure people that we follow up every potential sighting of him so I'd urge people to call police if you think you see him or know of his current whereabouts.

"We are continuing to liaise with a number of other forces across England and Scotland and have a huge number of resources dedicated to tracking him down but we also need the public's help.

"At the same time I would appeal directly to Leach, wherever he is, to hand himself in. Police forces across the UK are alert to the fact that has absconded and with an impending appearance on Crimewatch his face will be now well known within communities across England and Scotland. He should do the right thing and give himself up."

Unconfirmed sightings

The latest sighting comes as police say they have also received a significant number of possible unconfirmed sightings.

Posters have been distributed across England and Scotland appearing on buses, in shops, community centres, hospitals, and in bus and train stations.

Cyrus was born in Preston and has connections across the city, but he could be anywhere in the country. Inquiries are also on going in Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and London. He is known to have been in Tayside sometime between October 13 and 16.

He is serving a life sentence for robbery and in the past has committed a series of violent offences in his native Lancashire, including forcing his way into the home of a 90-year-old woman. He has also been convicted of having sex with an underage girl.

Officers have warned Leach should not, under any circumstances, be approached as he poses a significant risk.

Cyrus is described as around 5ft 11ins tall, of stocky build with cropped hair and hazel eyes. He has a distinctive scar on his top lip under his nose and two distinctive tattoos, one with the name 'Annette' on the bicep of his left arm and a figure of a barbarian woman on the back of his right shoulder blade.

Since he absconded he may also have grown a beard and moustache and may change his appearance to evade capture.

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