Girl, 13, is raped in West Ham Park

Detectives are investigating an attack on a 13-year-old schoolgirl in which she was raped.

Officers from the Specialist Project Sapphire Team were called in after the youngster and her family reported the attack.

The youngster had arranged to meet a lad aged 15-16 with her friend after previously making contact. Police officers are not yet disclosing how they first met at this stage.

They arranged to meet in West Ham Park and the rendesvous took place.

The boy then persuaded the victim to walk off with her, leaving her girl-friend in another part of the park.

They went to a quiet and secluded area of the park near the Upton Lane section of the park, which sprawls across West Ham and Forest Gate.

“It was here that the rape took place,” said a Scotland Yard police spokeswoman.

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“The teenage boy then escaped from the scene on his mountain bike,” she added.

The rape took place in the park, which is run by the City of London Corporation, between 6 and 7pm on Friday May 27.

The girl made her way back to her friend and they reported the crime to police, who sealed off the park for forensic tests for some hours.

Officer from the Sapphire unit were not able to fully interview the victim until several days after the attack.

The police unit, which is based in Cam Road, Stratford, exists to help those who have been raped or sexually assaulted.

They specialise in investigating rape and sexual assault cases, providing victims with the support and care that they need.

They use specialist centres, called The Havens for people who have been raped or sexually assaulted.

They can help victims recover, physically and motionally, from their difficult experience.

Anyone who may have information on the attack is asked to contact police in the Sapphire Team on (020) 8217 9862 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.