A WOMAN has been left shaken after being targeted by a bum-grabbing pervert - the third sexual assault in Basildon in just two days.

The 28-year-old, who wishes to remain anonymous, now says she is too fearful to step foot in Basildon town centre in the dark after Thursday’s incident.

The victim, from Langdon Hills, was approached from behind by a man who squeezed her bottom and touched her waist - before making an escape towards Maplin, in Westgate Park, Fodderwick.

It comes as police have stepped up patrols around Mopsies Park, after two women were also targeted - both within 30 minutes of one another - just the day before.

Officers say although Wednesday’s incidents are linked, they have no connection to the latest assault.

Speaking of the town centre attack, which happened around 5.30pm, the victim said: “I’d only popped into town to get some shopping and waited by easyGym for my husband to pick me up. I was on the phone when he ran up behind me and used both his hands to grab my bum. He also put his hands on my waist then ran off.

“I didn’t hear him coming and was so taken back, it made me feel just dirty. Another lady told me it also happened to her that day in town too, so it sounds like the same guy going round doing it.

“What I worry about is that school children wait here to picked up, it wasn’t even late. If anything happened to one of them it could honestly traumatise them.”

During the incidents at Mopsies Park, an 18-year-old was walking along the footbridge from Broadmayne towards the entrance of the park, when she noticed a man ahead. As she passed him - along a path leading to a row of houses - he grabbed her in a private area, but she managed to get away.

While officers were carrying out their enquiries, a 20-year-old woman was jogging outside the park entrance when a man tried to grab her but failed.

The woman added: “I used to always feel safe in town, but now I guess nowhere is safe. I’m worried that if there are people doing this now, that it will only escalate if nothing is done.”

Essex Police say the man involved in Thursday’s assault was described as black, of slim build, and about 5ft 8ins tall. He wore a coloured knitted jumper.

Call 101 quoting reference 42/193769/20.