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Man held over girl alley sex attack

Police have arrested a man after a nine-year-old girl was sexually assaulted in an alleyway.

Essex Police had issued an urgent appeal to trace Steven Partridge, 22, following the incident in Southend.

He was arrested in Harlow in the county earlier today and has been taken to Southend police station for questioning.

Detective Chief Superintendent Tracy Hawkings, the force's head of public protection, said: " The victim, a girl aged nine from Southend, was found by a member of the public who called the police.

"She is being cared for by specially trained police officers. She has suffered a sexual assault and we are doing everything we can to look after her following this traumatic ordeal."

The incident happened at about 5pm on Monday in an alleyway off Scratton Road in the town.

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