WIGAN parents and children have been put on their guard after the attempted abduction of a schoolgirl.
Police have pledged to step up patrols after the kidnap bid in Skelmersdale but have also urged the public to be vigilant in the town and its neighbouring communities including Up Holland, Appley Bridge and Orrell.
The incident is believed to have taken place around 8.30pm on Feltons last Thursday after the 12-year-old victim had been out playing with friends.
The man walked up to her and momentarily took hold of her by the arm.
The girl screamed and broke free of his graps and the man ran off along Feltons towards Birch Green Road.
Detectives say that the girl was, fortunately, unhurt but very upset by her ordeal. The told family who in turn contacted the police.
The stranger is described as white, approximately 40 years old, 6ft tall, of medium build with dark sideburns and grey stubble.
He was said to be wearing dark tracksuit bottoms and a red baseball cap.
The same man was seen to be loitering within the wooded area adjacent to Feltons in the 30 minutes prior to the offence and police are urging anybody that saw him or witnessed anything suspicious to contact them.
Det Insp Graham Coates from Skelmersdale CID said: “This is a serious incident which thankfully is incredibly rare but we need the public’s help to catch the man the man responsible.
“I would like to reassure the local community that we have a team of detectives investigating this incident and extra patrols have been deployed to the area.
“I would urge parents to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police.
“Should any resident have any concerns they can contact us or speak to their local officer.”
Police will be carrying out house-to-house inquires in the area but anyone who believes they have seen this man in the Feltons area or with information relevant to this incident is asked to contact Lancashire Police on 0845 1253545 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.