Teenager eliminated from mask probe
A teenage boy has been eliminated from police inquiries following reports of a man wearing a horror mask causing alarm among female students.
Extra plain-clothed and uniformed officers were deployed in Canterbury, Kent, following four reports ten days ago.
A 15-year-old boy voluntarily came forward to Kent Police and confirmed he is the person caught on CCTV cameras walking through the city in the area around Canterbury Christchurch University on the evening of October 9.
Other reported sightings of the boy were reported on October 10 and October 12, a police spokesman said.
The teenager, who is helping police with their inquiries, has been eliminated from the main investigation which centres on an isolated incident on Friday October 11 when a 19-year-old woman was allegedly followed and grabbed by a man wearing a mask in the St Martin's Hill area.
There are no witnesses to this incident and officers are appealing for anyone with information to contact them.
The suspect is white, 5ft 11in, skinny, and was wearing a black hooded top, dark jeans and a white V for Vendetta mask similar to the one seen in the CCTV images.
There have been several other sightings of people wearing masks, but no further incidents where physical contact has been made, police said.
Chief inspector Mark Arnold said: "A number of shops in Canterbury have been selling the V for Vendetta masks in the past few weeks and dozens have been sold.
"Whilst it's not unusual for people to be wearing fancy dress, including masks, I would warn everyone to celebrate responsibly and not do anything which may cause alarm, distress or fear to others."
He also urged all students to walk through well-lit areas at night, to avoid short cuts and travelling alone at night, and to report any suspicious incidents where someone makes an approach or tries to touch them.