POLICE are continuing to hunt for a man described as a dangerous and predatory who is believed 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, Boston, Lincolnshire on Tuesday 9th October after going on day release.
Officers have warned Leach should not under any circumstances be approached as he poses a significant risk. He is believed to have carried out a very serious sexual attack in Tayside, Scotland, since he absconded on October 9th, although further details cannot be released for legal reasons.
The last confirmed sighting of Leach is on the evening of Friday 19th October in Lea, Preston but despite a nationwide appeal he remains at large.
Police are urging the public to be vigilant and to come forward with information about his possible whereabouts.
Leach was born in Preston and has connections across the city as well as in South Ribble.
He is known to be in the city on a number of occasions since he absconded, but he could be anywhere in the country. Enquiries are also ongoing in Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Tayside.
Lancashire Police are investigating reports that two schoolgirls were approached as they sat at a bus stop around 6.30pm on Lancaster Road in Preston city centre on Wednesday 17th October. The girls were approached by a man matching Leach’s description who made sexual remarks towards them and encouraged them to participate in sexual activities with him. Fortunately 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 her home in Ribbleton, Preston. He was given a life sentence with a minimum tariff of five years. He also has convictions for burglary and robbery and assault.
Detective Chief Inspector Ian Dawson, of Preston Police said: “Whilst Leach remains at large he continues to pose 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, most likely on public transport.
“His appearance is likely to have changed over the past few weeks as a reflection of his current lifestyle and we believe he may have stubble or may now have grown a beard and look unkempt.
Leach is described as white; around five feet 11 inches tall, of stocky build with cropped hair and hazel eyes. His has a distinctive scar on his top lip under his nose and two distinctive tattoos, one with the name ‘Annette’ on the bicep of his left arm and a figure of a barbarian woman on the back of his right shoulder blade.
He was last seen wearing a black waterproof jacket, dark trousers and carrying a full rucksack.
DCI Dawson continued:
“He has a number of friends, family and associates in Preston and prior to his sentence lived and offended in the Preston area so it is likely that he will gravitate back to the city.
“We are liaising with a number of other forces and have a huge number of resources dedicated to tracking 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.
“So far we have been very encouraged by the information provided by members of the public and have received sightings of him from around the country and a result are following up a number of new lines of enquiry.
“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.
Information can be passed to local police either in person or on 101 or information can be passed anonymously via Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.
9th October – Leach escapes from North Sea Camp open prison in Boston and has travelled back to Preston where he is believed to have stayed for a number of days.
13th – 16th October – Leach is believed to have travelled up to the Tayside area in Scotland.
17th October – Leach is believed to have been captured on CCTV in Preston city centre after approaching two schoolgirls and enticing them into sexual activity.
19th October – Last confirmed sighting. Leach was seen in Lea in Preston.
20th October – Report that he could have been in Nottingham city centre.
Notes to editors
Please see attached NEW picture of Leach, taken whilst in prison, believed to be in 2009.
Ivan Leach changed his name to Lee Cyrus in 2007 but could be using either name.