Police investigating the abduction and sexual assault of a six-year-old girl, who says she was snatched while having a bath, have warned that her attacker is "extremely dangerous".
Known paedophiles living close to the child's home are to have their movements monitored by police.
The girl said she was taken from her bathroom in North Tyneside, sexually assaulted, and dumped naked in a back lane on Tuesday night, as little as 15 minutes later. The police believe a man got into the house via an unlocked door.
Detective Chief Inspector Jim Napier, of Northumbria Police, speaking from Willington Quay, where the child was abandoned, said: "From her account, somebody has been brazen enough to enter her house, take her away undressed and then assault her in a manner which is clearly sexually motivated, and then leave her in this lane, in the dark, on her own. I consider that individual to be extremely dangerous."
The detective confirmed that officers were investigating known paedophiles in the Tyneside area. "We will be prioritising those individuals in the coming days and weeks," he said.
The girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, is being cared for by her family. Specially-trained officers have talked to the girl to establish what happened.
The detective said examination of the scene and the victim indicated her account was true. He added: "The girl did suffer injuries and that is part of the reason why I am reassured about the credibility of the report."
Police were alerted by the girl's mother when she discovered the child was missing from the ground-floor bathroom of their home.
The naked girl was found by a resident wandering around in a distressed state.
Police are trying to trace a middle-aged man wearing a dark coat who was seen in the area. Det Ch Insp Napier said he was keen to confirm reports of a man driving erratically, with screeching brakes or a loud engine.
He added: "The main thing is that the girl was dropped off, alive and well, and hopefully, in the fullness of time, she will be able to put this horrible experience behind her."Reuse content