Detectives are appealing for information following two recent incidents in Eccleston, in which a man has approached and assaulted dog walkers.
At around 10.30pm on Friday 10 January, a man in his 40s was walking his dog near to Bobbies Lane and Griffin Close when he passed a man. The man ran up to him and punched the victim in the stomach, before running away.
A further incident occurred at around 9.30pm on Sunday 12 January on Church Walk, in which a man in his 40s was walking his dog and was approached by a man who told him to stop his dog barking. The man then ran towards the victim and pushed him, before again running off.
In both incidents, the suspect is described as 6ft tall and wearing dark clothes. In the first incident, the suspect was wearing a black baseball cap pulled down over his face and a dark blue jacket. In the second incident, the suspect was wearing a black bubble jacket and had everything but his eyes covered.
Extensive CCTV and witness enquiries are ongoing, and we are appealing to anyone with information to come forward.
Detective Chief Inspector Craig Sumner said: "These recent incidents are troubling and we're in contact with both victims to get full accounts. At the minute, we're keeping an open mind as to whether they are linked. In any event, our aim is the same: to find those responsible and stop such things happening.
"I understand the concern that these incidents will cause in the area and whilst I wouldn't want people to be fearful of being out in the area, just be vigilant. If you experience something similar or have any concerns, call us on 999 if a crime is in progress, or pass information on via 101 or our social media desk.
"There was a previous incident of suspicious behaviour in the area last year and whilst I wouldn't discount them being connected, we welcome any information to give us the full picture.
"Last November, two girls were approached in Taylor Park by a man, who grabbed one of the girls, before she pushed him away and the girls ran off. We made an appeal for information in connection with this incident at the time, and our enquiries continue.
"For any of these incidents, your information may be vital. You may have home CCTV, dashcam or have witnessed someone acting suspiciously and while this might seem trivial on the surface, let us judge how important this is.
"While we appreciate that people will want to discuss such incidents on social media, I'd also urge them to come forward via the proper channels. This allows us to properly investigate the reports, and I can assure people that we are determined to find those responsible as soon as possible, and remove them from your streets."
You can pass information via @MerPolCC, 101 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.