AN INVESTIGATION has been launched after a woman was allegedly sexually assaulted in Nelson.

Detectives said the incident allegedly happened in an area close to Nelson town centre at around 10.40pm on Sunday.

The woman, who is in her thirties, was approached and assaulted by a lone male. The victim and the alleged attacker are not known to each other.

No arrests have been made and police patrols have been stepped up in the area.

Detectives are appealing for any witnesses to come forward.

Yesterday an area of woodland next to Pendle Water, Nelson, was taped off as dozens of officers carried out a search.

The area, close to Reedeyford Road, was taped off for several hours with officers searching the embankment and waters edge.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing two police vans and two police cars at the scene.

A police spokesman said: "Detectives are investigating a report of a sexual assault in Nelson.

"The incident is reported to have occurred at around 10.40pm on Sunday, when a woman in her thirties was approached and assaulted by a lone male, in an area close to Nelson town centre.

"The investigation is in its very early stages and we are working hard to establish exactly what occurred.

"Anybody with information about the incident is asked to contact us on 101, quoting log number 1520 of September 17th."