PUPILS have been put on alert after a girl was groped as she walked home from school.

On Tuesday at around 3.40pm, a year 10 student from The Hollins high school was approached by a man as she was making her way home.

The incident took place along a public footpath which runs behind the high school known locally as 'The Lines'.

The girl, 14, was walking along the path when she spotted a man standing at the nature trail map.

The attacker, who was described as Asian and in his mid-30s, followed the girl and grabbed her from the behind, putting his hands on her buttocks.

The man was scared off after she screamed for help.

The attack comes after two schoolgirls were approached by strange men last month in Oswaldtwistle although the incidents do not appear to be linked.

Headteacher at Hollins Steve Campbell said that the school had been made fully aware of the incident and were dealing with it.

He said: "We have put a message out to all pupils this morning (Wednesday) and will be putting advice and warnings on social media before sending out more information in a newsletter to parents.

"We believe the girl was approached by a man while walking along The Lines.

"When she's screamed she's attracted the attention of a pupil from a different school who was walking along the same footpath.

"The pupil helped to distract the man, who ran off, and was able to assist in getting the girl to a friend's house before calling her family and the police."

The school is advising pupils not to walk home alone and take care when walking along public footpaths.

Police are now appealing for information on the incident.

DC Rubina Akoo from Accrington Police said: “This is a concerning incident that has understandably left this girl scared and upset. We have a number of detectives working on finding this man.

“We are not treating this incident as being linked to the previous incidents on Town Bent Lane in Oswaldtwistle at this time as the descriptions of the offenders differ.

“My advice to local residents, especially young women, would be to not walk along any hidden paths alone and to ensure you tell people where you are going.

“If you recognise the description or you have any information about this incident at all, please call us as soon as you can.”

The offender is described as Asian, in his twenties or thirties, with wide large eyes and of slim build.

He was wearing a blue and white hat along with a blue and white coat.

Anyone with any information about the attack should contact the police on 101 quoting incident number 0909 of November 6th.