Predatory criminal suspected of committing a serious sex offence while on the run
BRITISH police are continuing to hunt a "dangerous and predatory individual" who is suspected to have committed a serious sex offence while on the run.
Ivan Leach, also known as Lee Cyrus (47) went missing from North Sea Camp open prison in Boston, Lincolnshire, after he failed to return from day release on October 9.
The public are warned not to approach him under any circumstances as he poses a significant risk.
He is believed to have carried out a very serious sexual attack in Tayside, Scotland, since he absconded although further details cannot be released for legal reasons, said Lancashire Police.
Despite a large-scale police search and numerous reported sightings he remains at large.
Police are urging the public to be vigilant and to come forward with information about his possible whereabouts.
Preston-born Leach has visited his home city on a number of occasions since he absconded but he could be anywhere in the country. Inquiries are also ongoing in Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Tayside.
Lancashire Police are also investigating reports that two schoolgirls were approached for sex as they sat at a bus stop around 6.30pm on Lancaster Road in Preston city centre on Wednesday October 17.
The girls were spoken to by a man who matched Leach's description and made sexual remarks towards them as he encouraged them to participate in sexual activities with him. The girls boarded their bus and reported the incident to the police.
Leach was jailed in 2005 for robbing a 90-year-old woman in Ribbleton. He was given a life sentence with a minimum tariff of five years. He also has convictions for burglary, robbery and assault.
Detective Chief Inspector Ian Dawson, of Preston Police, said: "Leach is an extremely dangerous and predatory individual who poses a serious threat to members of the public. He has previous convictions for burglary, sex offences against a young girl, assault and robberies in which he has targeted elderly people in their own homes.
"We believe he could be sleeping rough and travelling extensively throughout the country. He has a number of links to Preston and prior to his sentence lived and offended in the Preston area. We are liaising with a number of other forces in a bid to track him down and apprehend him but we need the public's help.
"I'd reassure people that we follow up every potential sighting of him so I'd urge people to call police on 101 if you think you see him or know of his current whereabouts. I would remind people that he is violent and should not be approached. We have extra patrols in the city and continue to have officers out looking for him round the clock and we are doing everything we can to find him.
"The best possible outcome for himself, his family and all concerned is that he gives himself up."
"We believe he may have stubble or may now have grown a beard. He could also be carrying a rucksack.
Leach is described as white, around 5ft 11in, of stocky build with cropped hair and hazel eyes.
Information can be passed to local police either in person or on 101 or information can be passed anonymously via Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.