POLICE are hunting a rapist who they believe was on a stag night when he attacked his teenage victim outside a central Edinburgh shopping centre.

The 17-year-old was raped outside the St James Centre after being befriended by her attacker at a nearby bus stop.

The man was carrying an inflatable sheep when he met his victim.

Police today appealed to friends or relatives of the man who think they recognise the description of him to contact them.

The girl was approached by the man, who was in his 20s, had blond hair and possibly an English accent while she waited at a bus stop outside the St James Centre shortly after midnight on Saturday.

It is understood the two chatted for several minutes before the man led the girl up the steps leading to the entrance of the shopping centre.

When they reached the paved area outside the Boston Bean Company the man forced the girl to the ground and raped her. A few minutes later her attacker was disturbed by someone shouting and he fled down Leith Street.

He was carrying a large inflatable sheep, which he took with him after the assault.