Investigation launched after incident involving dog walker on The Leas in South Shields
Police are appealing for information after an incident involving a dog walker on The Leas in South Shields.
Officers are reassuring the public after concerns were shared on social media following the incident, which happened at about 6am on Friday, March 19.
Police have confirmed they received a report that a woman was walking her dog when the animal was approached by a man who took hold of it.
It was reported that the woman questioned why the man had grabbed her dog and hit him with a dog lead. Police were informed the man retaliated by punching her in the face before fleeing the area.
Northumbria Police have said they are investigating the incident and carrying out enquiries to identify the man involved.
The force stressed that there have been no other reports of attempted dog thefts in the area.
A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: “We can confirm we are investigating a report of an assault at The Leas in South Shields just before 6am this morning.
"It was reported that a woman was walking her dog when the animal was approached a stranger and he got hold of the dog.
"The woman has then questioned why the man has grabbed her dog and hit him with a dog lead, he has retaliated by punching her in the face before fleeing the area.
"The woman was not seriously injured but she is understandably shaken and enquiries to identify the man responsible are now ongoing.
"It is not clear why the man had grabbed the dog but no attempt was made to leave the area with the animal and there have been no other reports of attempted dog thefts in the area.
"Officers want to reassure dog walkers that this is being treated as an isolated incident and there have been no reported dog thefts in this area this year.
"The responsible for this assault is described as 5ft6in tall, with dark hair, aged in his 20s or 30s and wearing a black coat.
"Anyone who may have seen the man in the area at the time, or has information that could assist police, is asked to contact police on 101 quoting log 124 19/03/21.”