POLICE are unable to rule out a sexual motive after a woman was assaulted by a hooded prowler.
The 44-year-old was taking her spaniel puppy for a walk in a wood on the outskirts of North Berwick when the man grabbed her.
Following a brief struggle the terrified woman fought off the black tracksuit clad attacker before the scruffy assailant fled towards North Berwick Rugby Club.
Police say the disturbing attack has left the victim “extremely distressed”.
Det Supt Colin Bowsher, of Police Scotland, said officers were keeping an open mind about the motive for the assault.
He said: “The attacker didn’t say anything so we have no idea what his motive was.
“We are pretty certain it was an isolated attack.”
The incident took placed in a wooded area opposite Tantallon Road. Following the attack, the victim ran to the road and flagged down a small silver car.
Two men – both thought to be in their 20s – drove her to her nearby home where she then contacted the police.
Locals have spoken of their horror that this could happen in the usually “sleepy seaside town”.
Sheila Sinclair, chair of North Berwick Community Council, said the area has always been a “safe place to live”.
She said: “It is very distressing. I saw the police by the glen earlier but didn’t know what had happened. I’m just glad the lady fought back and it wasn’t even more serious than it was.”
The suspect is white, in his 30s, 5ft 10ins, of stocky build, with an unshaven complexion and was wearing a black tracksuit with the hood up.
Anyone with information should call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.