Police officers are appealing for witnesses after a report of a rape of an 11-year-old girl on Portland.

The shocking attack is reported to have taken place in the early hours of the morning in a disused stone tower known as the old windmill on land off Weston Street.

An 18-year-old local man has been arrested on suspicion of rape and has been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

A police cordon was in place at the site throughout Saturday and an officer stood guard. Forensic teams were seen to visit the site as part of the investigation as detectives conducted local enquiries.

It was reported that the victim was with her 14-year-old friend when she met the male suspect, who was on a bicycle in the area of Easton Square at around 3am on Saturday morning.

The three of them then walked onto Park Road, past the Tesco supermarket and down a track to an old stone windmill next to the stone quarries to the south of Easton, where the offence is alleged to have occurred.

Residents have been warned by the police not to speculate on social media about the incident.

A full investigation has been launched by detectives and they are carrying out a number of enquiries into the incident.

An 18-year-old local man has been arrested on suspicion of rape and has been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

Detective Inspector Wayne Seymour, of Dorset Police, said: “As part of our ongoing investigation, I am keen to hear from anyone who saw two girls with a male cyclist in the Easton area in the early hours of Saturday, August 31.

“We understand that this incident will have caused concern from the local community, but I would like to reassure members of the public that we are carrying out an extensive investigation in relation to this report.

“The victim is being supported by specially-trained officers and residents may see increased police activity in the area as this matter is being investigated. Local officers can be approached by members of the public with any concerns.

“Finally, I would urge members of the public to refrain from speculation in relation to this incident, particularly on social media, as it could impact the ongoing investigation.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk, via email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101, quoting occurrence number 55190136930. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

The windmill is one of two in the area. They are Grade II listed structures which are hundreds of years old.

The one off Weston Street, close to a quarry, is accessed by a track and also a footpath.

The area is a popular dog walking spot, and passers-by commented on Saturday that they did not know why police were in the area.

One resident said although they didn't know what had happened they found the police presence in the area reassuring, and passing dog walkers also expressed similar sentiments.

Cllr Sue Cocking, Mayor of Portland, said: "Obviously we fully support the police on any investigation. We assure residents that we try to do everything to keep residents safe. Portland should be a safe place for everyone."