A MANHUNT has been launched across East Lancashire after a six-year-old girl was abducted and, her parents claim, subjected to a terrifying sex attack.

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was snatched from the street and bundled into the boot of a car.

The youngster was playing on her bike when she was approached by a stranger who claimed he needed help to get a ball that had rolled under his car.

But as the schoolgirl, who was dressed in pink, bent down to collect the ball she was shoved into the dark coloured vehicle and driven away.

The terrified child was taken from Nairne Street in Burnley, to what her family believe was a remote location and assaulted.

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Her attacker then dumped her three miles away in a back alley in Hapton at around 4pm on Thursday after unsuccessfully trying to force her into a wheelie bin.

Detectives yesterday urged parents to remain vigilant and to keep a close eye on their own children until the man is caught.

The youngster’s distraught mum exclusively told the Lancashire Telegraph she hoped the pervert would be ‘caught and castrated’.

The 40-year-old, who came close to tears as she described what happened, said: “He told her there was a ball under the car so she looked under for it.

“Then he grabbed her and put her in the boot.

“Because she’s only six she was very vague, but she said he got her to touch him.

“He then tried to put her in a wheelie bin and then just left her on the back street in Hapton.”

The youngster had been playing on her bike with her older brother when he returned home alone at around 4.10pm on Thursday.

“I told him to go and get his sister because they are meant to stay together and their pizza was ready for tea,” their mum said.

“He went to go and get her but she wasn’t there. It was just her bike in the middle of the road. In a matter of 10 minutes, she had disappeared.”

The family’s neighbours went out looking for the ‘bubbly and outgoing’ child but their search proved futile.

Mark Trudgill’s eight-year-old daughter Ruby was playing in Whitefield Street in Hapton with her school friend Harrison when they found the girl outside.

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STATEMENT: Det Chief Insp Joanne McHugh speaks to the media.

Mark, a 40-year-old service engineer at Bosch, said: “They came in with this little girl who I did not know.

“She was trembling like a leaf and was crying.

“She said a man took her. They stopped somewhere and she said all she could see were bushes.

“The man had his pants down and asked her to touch him.

“He put her back in the boot and she was left on a back street around the corner from our house.

“It’s very worrying that there’s a paedophile locally. It makes you stop and think.”

The girl’s mum added: “She is scared because the man said he was going to fetch her home so she told him where she lived. She thinks he will come back for her.

“He’s a sick pervert and he knew what he was doing.

“I think he had been targeting the area because a few of the kids said they had seen a black car.

“He was waiting for his opportunity, he saw it, and he took it.

“He should be caught and castrated.”

Reporters were summoned to an impromptu press conference to a Burnley car park yesterday afternoon by police, where a senior officer said a specialist team had been drafted in to catch the man, and urged parents to keep an eye on their children.

The man was described as white with a tanned complexion and bald. He is thought to be in his forties.

Detective Chief Inspector Joanne McHugh said: “We are determined to find out exactly what has happened to this young child and to catch the man who has done this.

“We have a team of detectives who are on with various lines of enquiry and will be speaking to people in the area, as well as looking for possible CCTV footage and forensic evidence.

“I would like to reassure the public that whilst incidents of this kind are rare, we have stepped up police patrols in the area.

“We would ask people to be vigilant and to take precautions.

“I urge anyone who may have seen this vehicle, anything suspicious in the time leading up to the incident or indeed anyone with information about this incident to contact the police urgently.”

Anyone with any information should call Lancashire Police on 101.


Shocked neighbours led search for child

NEIGHBOURS rallied to help search for the missing girl.

Helen Ellis and daughter Paris, 12, were among a team combing the streets around Nairne Street.

Mrs Ellis said: “As soon as I heard, I got my coat on and I went out looking for her. We asked in all of the shops.

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“We also tried in the park, but she was not there.

“When I heard what had happened, I just went sick. We were really worried for the family.

“I have a little boy who is seven and so it is really worrying. I could not believe what happened, but at least she is safe now.”

Paris added: “I went out for about three hours looking. I could not sleep worrying about what was going on.”

Residents in Nairne Street, where the six-year-old was snatched, were in shock.
Mother-of-three Shitara Begum said: “It is really worrying. This is usually a quiet neighbourhood and so it is really scary.

“I will now be scared to let my children go out on their own.”
Kevin Kelly, also of Nairne Street, said: “I always see kids wandering around here and so this is a really horrible thing to have happened in this street.

“It must have been so scary for the little girl.”
Another resident said: “I just cannot imagine what the parents must have been going through.”