A WARNING has been issued to the public after a man reportedly exposed himself to four teenage girls near a nature reserve.

The incident took place at about 3.45pm on Wednesday close to the Whetmead Nature Reserve in Witham.

It is one of a number of reported incidents of indecent exposure in Witham since February 15, which police say they are now linking.

The teens were walking down Blackwater Lane towards the nature reserve when they became aware of the man who was facing away from them.

The male then turned and looked at them over his shoulder before crossing over Blackwater Lane in front of the girls and exposed himself.

The victims ran away and the suspect fled towards Maldon Road in the direction of Saul’s Bridge Close.

He was last seen at the junction of these two roads.

The suspect is described as white, between 5ft 7ins and 5ft 8ins tall, of a slim build with dark wavy or slightly curly hair which was greasy.

He was wearing a black long-sleeved top which may have had a hood and possibly a white logo on the front chest area.

He was also wearing dark coloured jogging bottoms and trainers.

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Essex Police are looking to speak to people who were in the area at the time and may have seen the man matching the description.

Detective Constable Deb Forsythe, of Braintree CID, said: “We believe the man exposing himself must live close to the area as he clearly has local knowledge given the routes he uses and disappears a short time after the events.

“We believe the key to finding and arresting this individual lies with the public and would ask anyone who has any knowledge as to who this person is, to contact police as a matter of urgency.

“We understand these incidents will be concerning for our community and we are treating them very seriously.

"We have high visibility patrols taking place in the area but we would urge members of the public to vigilant and we would ask parents not to allow their children to go to the area alone.”

Anyone with information should call 101 quoting incident 904 of 31 March.

E-fit released

Police want to speak to this man in connection with incident of indecent exposure

Police want to speak to this man in connection with incidents of indecent exposure

Police have also released an e-fit of a man they want to speak to in connection with two incidents they are linking to the incident at the nature reserve on Wednesday.

They took place on Wednesday, March 10, and Friday, March 12.

At about 4pm on March 10, three girls reported walking in a green area just off Laurence Avenue, between Maldon Road and Pattison Close, when a man exposed himself.

The man in that incident is described as white, slim, approximately 20-years-old with medium-length dark brown hair.

He was wearing a blue jacket, grey trousers, and brown shoes.

Two days later, a woman in her 30s was walking her dog in the Maldon Road area at around 10am when she reported a man exposing himself.

Anyone with information which they believe will help should call 101 quoting crime reference number 42/44328/21 or cite incident 1046 of 22 March.