DETECTIVES are appealing for information following a series of knife-point robberies in Otley.

Four incidents involving knives took place in the town last week, with several teenagers among the victims.

Three of the crimes happened in Wharfemeadows Park between about 9pm and 9.30pm on Friday, August 30 and are believed to be linked.

A boy and girl, both aged 15, were in the park when they were threatened with a knife by a suspect who demanded their mobile phones. The girl managed to fight him off and the suspect, described as a white male who was wearing a grey hoody and a black jacket, ran away.

At about the same time a 17-year-old boy was approached separately in the park while he was with three friends. The suspect showed them a knife and demanded the victim’s wallet, but the teenager and his friends ran off.

Shortly before that a 23-year-old man had been targeted near the skate park by someone who produced a knife - but also ran off to safety.

Leeds District Crime Team officers are checking to see if the Friday night offences could be linked to an earlier incident on Thursday, August 29, when a 19-year-old man and his friend were robbed near Otley Cemetery, on Pool Road.

The pair had been approached at about 9.30pm by two males - described as being in their early twenties and wearing dark clothing - who were carrying knives and had their faces covered with scarves.

The victims handed over property, including a wallet, cards and cash.

Detective Inspector Andy Norgate, of Leeds District Crime Team, said: “These were obviously very distressing incidents for the victims and we are currently working to identify those responsible.

“We would like to hear from anyone who witnessed any of the incidents or saw anyone acting suspiciously in the area around the time.

“The incidents on Friday took place in the same location during the same period of time and we believe they are linked to the same suspect.

“We are also looking into whether the incident on Thursday is part of the same series.

“Otley is normally a very low crime area and street robberies such as this are relatively unusual.

“We are liaising with our colleagues on the local neighbourhood policing team who are increasing their patrols of the area to reassure the community.”

The mother of one of the victims, meanwhile, spoke out on television this week to warn young people in Otley to stay in groups if they are out walking.

Anyone with any information that could help is asked to contact the Leeds District Crime Team by calling 101 and quoting crime reference 13190444886, or to call the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.