A GRAVEYARD near Chepstow town centre was cordoned off by police yesterday, after a woman was allegedly raped there.

Ten detectives are investigating a report by a woman that she was attacked sometime between 10pm and 1am in St Mary's churchyard on Saturday night.

CCTV footage from the town centre will be scrutinised by police over the next few days in an attempt to identify the alleged attacker.

The woman, a 31-year-old from the West Country, had spent the night at Jimmy Dean's bar, drinking with friends.

At some point during the night she became separated from her friends, and the last thing she can remember is sitting on the pavement outside Jimmy Dean's bar for some time at around 10pm.

Her next recollection is regaining conciousness in St Mary's churchyard between midnight and 1am after allegedly being attacked.

Detective Inspector Mike Jones, who is leading the investigation, said: "We have searched the area where we believe the offence has occurred and we have recovered some items of property dropped by the victim.

"We are still trying to identify the person responsible. Unfortunately the lady was slightly worse for wear and cannot recall much detail about the incident.

"This is a serious allegation."

He added: "The area between the church and Jimmy Dean's bar would have been quite busy around that time of night, and we are appealing to anyone who may have seen her walking with a man to contact us."

Chepstow councillor Cliff Meredith said: "I haven't heard about anything like this happening in Chepstow for donkey's years - it is not the sort of thing that normally happens here."

Chepstow councillor Gwyn Eburne said: "I'm shocked by the incident but until we know the circumstances we don't know if there is any cause for concern for people in general."

The alleged victim is described as of medium build with short brown hair, and was wearing dark denim jeans and a red, chiffon-type top.

Anyone with information is urged to contact DI Jones at Chepstow police station on 01633 838111.