Police are investigating possible links to similar Norwich attacks after two women were mugged near the University of East Anglia last night.

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The two women, students aged 28 and 33, were attacked by a man near the Salter Avenue junction of Bluebell Road at around 9.30pm as they walked home towards the university.

The man tried to grab a messenger-style handbag from the 33-year-old, causing her to fall to the ground, and then kicked her twice in the face before punching her friend in the stomach, leaving both women with minor injuries.

The man, described as in his late teens or early 20s and of medium build, eventually fled the scene empty-handed and ran off towards the Fiveways roundabout. He was wearing a black woolly hat and light coloured zip-up hooded top.

Police are now investigating possible links to similar incidents which have happened in the city recently, including one on Thursday, December 6.

On that occasion a 21-year-old woman was grabbed from behind and pulled to the floor as she walked along the track which leads out of the UEA grounds towards Bluebell Road, at about 11.45pm. The woman managed to break free and the suspect fled the scene.

An incident in Earlham Road on Sunday, December 30 is also still being investigated, where someone tried to snatch a handbag from a woman in her 40s as she walked with her mother and daughter.

Investigating officer Det Con David Walker, from Norwich CID, said local officers will be increasing patrols in the area to offer reassurance, saying: “This was a nasty assault and we are following a number of lines of enquiry to apprehend the offender.

“While there is no evidence to suggest students are being targeted we would like to take this opportunity to encourage people to consider their personal safety while out and about.

“This includes staying aware of your surroundings, sticking with friends and avoiding shortcuts down alleyways and unlit areas at night.”

Anyone with information should call DC Walker at Norwich CID on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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