Officials from the University of East Anglia have reiterated personal safety advice to staff and students, after another assault near campus.

The incident occurred on Tuesday 8 January at 9:30pm at the junction of Salter Avenue and Bluebell Road. The victims, aged 28 and 33 were walking home towards the University, when a man approached them from behind and attempted to steal a messenger style handbag from one student, knocking her to the ground in the process. He escaped empty handed towards the Fiveways roundabout. Both students sustained minor injuries during the assault.

Police say the suspect is described as male, aged in his late teens or early 20s and of medium build. He was wearing a black woolly hat and light coloured zip-up hoodie. Police are investigating a connection with a similar incident in December.

Investigating officer Detective Constable David Walker said: “This is the third similar incident reported in the area in recent weeks and 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.

“Local officers will be increasing patrols in the area to offer reassurance and we are keen to hear from anyone who may have been in the area around the time of the incident and noticed a man fitting the description of the suspect.”

Witnesses should contact DC Walker at Norwich CID on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Dean of Students Dr Annie Grant said: “We are doing everything we can to assist the police with their enquiries and would urge students to take a common sense approach to personal safety, avoiding walking alone or taking shortcuts at night.

“Please keep to the main campus roads that are well-frequented, even when this adds a few extra minutes to your journey, and exercise caution carrying cash or valuables.”

Meanwhile Trevor Smith of UEA Security called for increased vigilance when close to campus in areas not covered by security patrols or CCTV.

The Union of UEA Students has advice for students concerned about personal or night time safety.

The University offers information from the Dean of Students office and the Security Lodge, and advises anyone involved in an incident on campus to dial the emergency services on 999, and then UEA Security on 01603 592 222.