Detectives hunting fugitive rape suspect Lee Cyrus have released images of items they believe he was using to live rough in Scotland.
Cyrus – also known as Ivan Leach – has been on the run for more than a month and is wanted for questioning in connection with a serious sex attack and other crimes in Perth.
Now officers from Tayside Police have revealed they have recovered outdoor equipment which Cyrus may have been using while he was in the area.
They have launched an appeal for the owners of the items – a tarpaulin cover and a builder’s bag – to come forward and assist with the ongoing nationwide manhunt.
Police have described recovering the items as “significant” amid reported sightings of him in other parts of the country, including Nottingham, London and Preston.
A Tayside Police spokesman said: “Officers investigating the sexual assault of a woman in Perth and other crimes in the area between Friday 12 and Thursday 18 October are looking to identify the owner of a green tarpaulin cover and builder’s bag, which is significant to the inquiry.
“Around midnight on Monday 15 October, the 23-year-old victim was asleep in her home when she was woken by an intruder who threatened her with violence before sexually assaulting her. Any member of the public who believes these items may have belonged to them or anyone with information should call Tayside Police.”
A man fitting Cyrus’s description was seen the day after the attack carrying a large mattress, stolen from the victim’s house, towards the banks of the River Tay in Perth. A specialist underwater search team was called in and the mattress was recovered from the river and is now being analysed for traces of DNA.
Shortly afterwards, the top of Kinnoull Hill, overlooking Perth, was locked down by police while an intensive search for Cyrus was carried out, but without success.
Cyrus has been on the run from prison in Lincolnshire since 9 October and is believed to have spent several days in Scotland. He went missing from North Sea Camp in Boston and the decision to allow him back out into the community is now being reviewed by prison chiefs.
Cyrus is described as white, around 5ft 11in tall, of stocky build with cropped hair and hazel eyes.
Before the victim reported the attack to police someone entered her home and removed the king-sized mattress the following day.
The attacker was described as wearing a navy-coloured scarf, a dark-coloured beanie hat, a black jacket, a grey jumper, khaki green waterproof trousers and a black belt. He spoke with an English accent.
Acting Detective Inspector Marc Lorente said Tayside Police had not ruled out any connection with other break-ins to homes in the same part of Perth during mid-October.
Cyrus, described as a “monster” by police, has a string of convictions and is serving a life sentence. He was deemed suitable for day release despite convictions for having sex with a girl of 13, attacking a woman with a screwdriver and robbing a 90-year-old widow.