Police who arrested a man wanted in connection to several cases of abduction and rape said they are talking to as many as 12 separate victims.

Joseph McCann, 34, was arrested by police in Congleton, Cheshire, in the early hours of Monday (May 6).

He was wanted in relation to the abductions and rapes of women in Chingford and Edgware on April 25, and a woman in Watford on April 21.

He remains in police custody at this time.

Hertfordshire Police said McCann has been linked to additional attacks in Cheshire, Manchester and Lancashire, as well as the previous ones in Hertfordshire and London - totalling twelve victims.

McCann was also wanted in connection to the false imprisonment of a woman in her 30s in Haslingden, Lancashire, on May 5, where a teenage girl and boy, aged 11, were raped.

Later that same day, a 71-year-old woman was abducted and raped in Bury, Manchester; two 13-year-old boys and a 13-year-old girl were abducted in Heywood, Manchester – the girl was sexually assaulted; and two 14-year-old girls were forced into a car in Congleton, Cheshire. They were not sexually assaulted.

Watford Chief Inspector Matt Phillips said: “We, along with other police forces, welcomed the news of McCann’s arrest in Cheshire. I know this will come as a relief to the victims of these terrible crimes, as well as the wider communities that have been affected.

“Our officers in the Sexual Offences Investigation Team here in Hertfordshire are continuing to work in close partnership with the Metropolitan Police with regards to the offence committed in Watford in the early hours of Easter Sunday.

“Following this report and the two offences in London, we targeted extra resources in the form of high-visibility patrols as part of the night-time economy, as well as the areas of Hagden Lane, Osborne Road and the surrounding vicinity. We have since received feedback from members of the community who say they felt safer having seen an increased police presence on the streets.

“I would also like to thank our partners and other organisations who attended the community engagement meeting at Watford Borough Council on Thursday last week. We are very grateful for your support and found your advice invaluable.”

Anyone who has been the victim of a sexual offence should contact the Hertfordshire Sexual Assault Referral Centre, who offer a 24/7 confidential service to those who have experienced sexual violence and/or abuse.

You can visit their website at www.hertssarc.org or call them on 0808 178 4448.