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Road blocks quiz in attacker hunt.

Byline: By Guy Basnett

Detectives hunting a man who abducted a six-year-old girl last night set up a series of road blocks to question motorists passing through the area one week after the attack.

The move came as police revealed they have widened their search for the "extremely dangerous" paedophile to other parts of the country.

The young girl was found wandering naked and terrified in a back lane in Willington Quay, North Tyneside, at 7.15pm last Tuesday.

Detectives believe she was taken when the man entered her home through an unlocked back door, plucking her from the bath and driving her off before sexually assaulting her.

After a 15-minute ordeal, she was dumped a few streets away.

Last night officers stopped scores of cars within the neighbourhood before questioning motorists.

It is hoped the operation could provide vital information. Det Chief Insp Jim Napier, leading the investigation, revealed the incident room has so far received more than 100 calls, and officers had knocked on more than 200 doors.

But he confirmed nobody has come forward to say they had seen the man, who was described by the little girl as wearing dark clothes, dark gloves and may have had sideburns or was unshaven.

He also revealed information had led them to make inquiries nationwide.

Officers were said to be investigating hundreds of known paedophiles in the North Tyneside area.

Mr Napier said: "Some lines of inquiry have taken us elsewhere in the country, in response to people phoning in with information.

"I am confident we will get a positive result. It may take a number of days, weeks or even months."

He added it was a possibility that the girl was being watched before she was abducted. "It is possible but I have got to keep an open mind," he said.

"The account given by the girl is that we're looking for someone who was a stranger to the family, and that the assailant was certainly not known by the victim."

Mr Napier also admitted that the "maze-like" nature of streets in the area could point to a suspect with local knowledge, but the fact that the Tyne Tunnel was nearby opened up other possibilities.

He said: "I am happy with the way the inquiry is progressing at the moment.

"It is hoped by questioning motorists in the area a week on, we may jog someone's memory about the night."

The girl's grandmother has revealed how the girl has described her ordeal with the "nasty man" who "put his hand over my mouth and told me to be quiet and lifted me out the bath".

She has also identified a number of local landmarks to police officers which suggest the driver took her into Wallsend before returning to Willington Quay.

Mr Napier yesterday repeated his direct appeal to the attacker, adding: "Come and find us before we come and find you."

Anyone with information is asked to call (0191) 214-6555, ext 63806.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 4, 2006
Words:494
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