Page last updated at 14:51 GMT, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 15:51 UK

Man who assaulted 24 girls hunted

Police e-fit of sex assault suspect
The man wore a black woolly hat on a number of occasions

A man who sexually assaulted at least 24 girls on their way to school in north and east London is being hunted.

The sex assaults have taken place in Enfield, Waltham Forest, Barnet and Redbridge since June 2008, with the victims aged between 12 and 18.

The suspect approached the victims from behind as they walked to school and he tried to lift their skirts before running off, police said.

He is white and around 30 years old and often wore a black woolly hat.

Ten assaults took place in Enfield and nine in Barnet in north London.

A further three assaults took place in Waltham Forest and two in Redbridge in east London, with the most recent offence taking place on 15 July.

Schools warned

Many were committed between 0700 BST and 0930 BST as the victims walked to school wearing their uniform.

In some cases the man touched the girls' legs and in others he apologised before running off.

The suspect may also be behind five further sex assaults in Enfield and Barnet, police said.

None of the victims were seriously injured and police have warned schools in the four boroughs about the incidents.

Det Insp Caroline Haines said: "Whilst there appears to have been a break in offending over the school holidays, we would still advise vigilance, particularly around youth summer activities and events such as school youth groups."

There was no evidence to suggest that any particular schoolchildren were being targeted, she added.

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