A 14-YEAR-OLD girl was dragged down a driveway before being sexually assaulted in an early morning attack.

The terrified youngster had been walking along Padiham Road, Sabden when she was grabbed by her attacker, who had followed her for a short distance.

He put his hand over the victim’s mouth and after pulling her along the driveway tried to force her to take down her trousers.

The brave teen refused and managed to fight him off as he attempted to undress her.

Police said the attacker then gave up and ran off up Padiham Road in the direction of Simonstone Road.

The ‘shellshocked’ teen ran in the opposite direction while calling her mum on her mobile phone for help.

Sabden residents said that they were in ‘complete shock’ that such an incident, which happened shortly after 7.30am yesterday, had taken place in their village.

Mum-of-three Angela Davenport, 47, of Padiham Road, said: “I just can’t believe something as horrible as this has happened on my doorstep.

“Sabden is usually such a quiet village.

“I am a mother-of-three and my daughter was also out in the street early in the morning making her own way to school.

“It’s really scary to think what could have happened. I will definitely not be allowing her out alone in the dark.”

Another resident in Padiham Road said: “It’s a definite sign of the times. This would never of happened when I was younger.

“If I was this young girl’s father I would be tearing my hair out.”

Specially trained officers are now supporting the teenager and her family.

A neighbour added: “I am in complete shock. This sort of thing just does not happen in Sabden.

“We are a real community here and we all look out for each other.

“The poor girl. I hope she is ok.”

DI Jill Johnston, who is leading the investigation, said: “This was an absolutely terrifying ordeal for this young girl and it is absolutely crucial that we find the person responsible as soon as possible.

“The victim is completely shell shocked. She is being supported alongside her family by specially trained officers.

“We are carrying out house to house inquiries and trying to find witnesses to this incident which took place in the open in daylight.

“I can reassure people that we have stepped up patrols in the area and have a dedicated team of officers working hard to catch the man responsible.

“I urge anyone who noticed a man acting suspiciously or running through Sabden yesterday morning to come forward.

“I would also like to speak to anyone who spotted a suspicious vehicle parked in or around Sabden including secluded areas and Back Lane, Simonstone Road and Padiham Road.”

Yesterday forensic officers were working at the scene looking for clues.

The attacker is described as having a deep voice with a local accent.

He was wearing trainers, dark coloured jogging pants and a dark coloured hooded top with brown gloves.

Sabden Parish Councillor Michael Calvert, said: “This type of incident is complete out of character for Sabden.

“It’s even worse because the girl was so young.

“I hope the police quickly track down this man and anyone who has information will help them.”

Anyone with information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.