Police plea over escapee ­suspected of committing sex offence in Tayside

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POLICE have issued a fresh appeal for information in the hunt for a “dangerous and predatory individual” ­suspected of committing a serious sex offence while on the run.

Ivan Leach, also known as Lee Cyrus, 47, is believed to have carried out a very serious sex attack in Tayside after going missing from North Sea Camp open prison in Boston, Lincolnshire, on 9 October.

The public are warned not to approach him under any circumstances, as he poses a significant risk.

Despite a large-scale police search and numerous reported sightings, he remains at large. Police are urging the public to be vigilant and to come forward with information about his possible whereabouts.

Preston-born Leach has visited his home city on a number of occasions since he absconded, but he could be anywhere in the country. ­Inquiries are also ongoing in Tayside, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.

Lancashire Police are also investigating reports that two schoolgirls were app­roached for sex as they sat at a bus stop around 6.30pm on Lancaster Road in Preston city centre on 17 October.

The girls were spoken to by a man who matched Leach’s description and made sexual remarks towards them as he encouraged them to participate in sexual activities with him. The girls boarded their bus and reported the incid­ent to the police.

Leach was jailed in 2005 for robbing a 90-year-old woman in Ribbleton. He was given a life sentence with a minimum tariff of five years. He also has convictions for burglary, robbery and ­assault.

Detective Chief Inspector Ian Dawson, of Preston Police, said: “Leach is an extremely dangerous and predatory individual who poses a serious threat to members of the public.

“He has previous convictions for burglary, sex offences against a young girl, ­ass­ault and robberies in which he has targeted elderly people in their own homes. We believe he could be sleeping rough and travelling ­extensively throughout the country. He has a number of links to Preston and prior to his sentence lived and offended in the Preston area.

“We are liaising with a number of other forces in a bid to track him down and apprehend him, but we need the public’s help.”

Leach is described as white, around 5ft 11in, of stocky build with cropped hair and hazel eyes.