AN increase in reported rapes in the town is a sign that victims feel more confident in going to the police, the head of Cheshire Police’s dedicated rape unit has said.

The number of rape allegations in Warrington have increased since an investigation was launched in October 2012 into disgraced DJ Jimmy Savile, who has become known as the country’s most prolific abuser.

In what has been described as the ‘Yewtree effect’, there has been a surge in the number of sexual abuse victims that have come forward for offences taking place more than 12 months ago.

Recent figures reveal that from April 2011 to March 2012 and April 2013 to March 2014, there has been a 75 per cent increase in reports of rape in the town, which took place more than 12 months ago.

But the high-profile Savile investigation is also thought to have led to a rise in all rape allegations reported to police with an increase of 69 per cent in the same period.

Detective Inspector Clare Coleman wanted to reassure the public that every line of enquiry will be exhausted when investigating allegations of both recent and historic sexual offences.

She said: “I’d actively encourage people to come forward and report the incident. I want to assure people that they will be fully informed and fully supported throughout the process and that we will treat them with the upmost sensitivity and respect.”

Whether the offence happened 40 years ago or four years ago, all reports will be dealt with in the same manner.

She added: “There are the difficulties if time has lapsed. You are going to have issues if there was any CCTV as the coverage will no longer be available.

“But a victim can come forward and say I disclosed this to an ex-partner, a current partner, a doctor. You are still going to have an element of corroboration by who they have told during that time.”

Last month, the Warrington Guardian reported that police were appealing for information after an investigation was launched into a sexual assault in Lymm Dam which is alleged to have happened in 1975, when the victim was aged 12.

Detectives are currently searching for a man believed to be called Bill, who was a keen fisherman, and visited the area and lived in a caravan park in Carrington in Manchester.

Anyone with any information is urged to call Cheshire Police on 101 quoting crime reference number 0714062205 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.