Locals fear return of latex-clad gimp with kids in village ‘really freaked out’

Reports of a masked man spying on a couple through their window have left residents of a Somerset village worried that the latex-clad gimp who terrorised their area two years ago has returned.

Avon and Somerset Police were called to Claverham just after midnight on September 1, but were “unable to locate the man”.

Village residents had previously reported 14 incidents where a person dressed in disguises approached people at night, between November 2018 and February 2020, Bristol Live reports.

Officers said they were keeping an open mind as to whether the incidents were linked.

But a woman, who asked not to be named, told the BBC: “I’ve got older children and even my kids are saying ‘it’s the gimp man again’.

"They’re really freaked out by it.

“But it could be anyone and I want to come from a practical point of view and do something to help people feel safer.”

She said people had reported "weird things happening" recently in the village.

“I’m not too bothered to walk around on my own, but it freaks my children out and I want them to feel safer,” she added.

In July 2019, a person in a black latex bodysuit touching his groin reportedly approached a young woman on the streets.

That same year, a police search got under way using helicopters and sniffer dogs.

An investigation was launched which resulted in two men being arrested on suspicion of indecency offences, but they were later released without charge.

A group has now been set up for people to walk around Claverham in teams, and its members said it was not encouraging people to put themselves in danger but hoped to support neighbours and encourage awareness.

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One previous victim said when she heard about the latest sighting: "My heart felt like I was running a marathon, [there was] an instant feeling of panic, anxiety and anger again which took me over a year of private counselling and medications to control.

"If I'm not worrying at home, I'm worrying at work because my wife is at home and so are many other women."

Describing her attack, she said the man was fully covered in the suit and was "coming towards me and was touching his groin, grunting and breathing heavy".

A police spokesman told the BBC that patrols had been increased in the Claverham area since September 1.

Anyone with information or with dashcam or doorbell camera footage of a man in Claverham on September 1 wearing what has been described as a full face mask is asked to contact police.

This comes as a man wearing nothing but a rubber gimp mask was spotted staring at traffic before running through the woods in Hampshire.

If you or somebody you know has been affected by this story, contact Victim Support for free, confidential advice on 08 08 16 89 111 or visit their website, www.victimsupport.org.uk.

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