Teen arrested as police investigate 17-day string of 'bottom slapping' sexual assaults

Hatherley Road, Cheltenham
Hatherley Road in Cheltenham, where some of the assaults took place. (Google Maps)

A teenager has been arrested in connection with an investigation into reports of a string of incidents that saw lone women have their bottoms grabbed or slapped.

Police in Cheltenham have been investigating the series of incidents, which took place in Hatherley between Tuesday, July 21 and Thursday, August 6.

In each of the reports a man approached a lone female, either on foot or on a bike, and grabbed or slapped their bottoms.

On Sunday, Gloucestershire Constabulary said extra patrols had been put in place in the area, including a plain clothes operation, and on Friday (August 7) a teenage boy was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault. He has been released under investigation pending further enquiries.

The investigation has echoes of a similar case in 2018, when Constantin Barbutu pleaded guilty to a series of late-night assaults on lone women in the Brighton area that involved him riding up behind women who were walking, running or cycling alone before smacking or groping them.

Another of the incidents took place on Coombe Glen Lane, police said. (Google Maps)
Another of the incidents took place on Coombe Glen Lane, police said. (Google Maps)

Officers investigating the incidents in Cheltenham are still urging anyone with information to contact them, and also asked people with any footage not to share it on social media platforms.

The force said a man arrested in connection with the first few reported incidents will face no further police action.

Read more: Police name 17-year-old killed in stabbing in London's West End

Anyone with information about the incidents, or anyone with video footage, should contact Gloucestershire Constabulary on 101 quoting incident 300 of 21 July.

The incidents took place at the following times and places:

  • Tuesday 21 July at 1.10pm in Old Reddings Road

  • Tuesday 21 July at 1.30pm in Hatherley Road

  • Thursday 23 July at 2.15pm in Gwernant Road

  • Tuesday 28 July at 7.40pm in Hatherley Road

  • Friday 31 July at 6pm in Hatherley Road

  • Monday 3 August at 5pm in Caernarvon Road (between Flint and Denbigh Road)

  • Monday 3 August at 5.10pm in Warden Hill Road

  • Tuesday 4 August at 5.35pm in Up Hatherley Way

  • Tuesday 4 August at 6.30pm in Hatherley Road

  • Thursday 6 August at 5.40pm in Up Hatherley Way

  • Thursday 6 August at 6pm in Coombe Glen Lane