DETECTIVES have arrested a teenager after a woman was sexually assaulted during what they have described as a terrifying street robbery.

Police issued an urgent appeal on Saturday afternoon to identify a person captured on CCTV images in connection with the incident in Burnley on Friday night in which an individual is said to have robbed, attacked and threatened to kill the woman.

Last night officers confirmed they had received the potential name of the person in the images and were making efforts to find him.

And today detectives confirmed they have arrested a 17-year-old boy from Burnley on suspicion of robbery and sexual assault.

He is currently in police custody.

The arrest came after police said the victim, a 47-year-old local woman, was walking alone along Healy Wood Road at 11.40pm, having been separated from her friends after visiting a cashpoint on a night out.

As she got level with the exit to the Reel Cinema, she noticed a male following her on the opposite side of the road.

He shouted something at her which she did not hear and then ran towards her. He then began making demands for her phone and money.

Police said he then grabbed her handbag but the victim tried to fight him off.

Officers said the male then threatened to sexually assault her, grabbed her chest and pushed his hand down her trousers.

He also made threats to kill her.

She was pulled to the ground and dragged whilst the attacker continued to pull at her bag.

The woman eventually lost her grip and he ran off with her bag.

Detectives issued an appeal for witnesses and also urged people to remain vigilant while on nights out.

Patrols have been stepped up in the town.

The police’s advice is for people to enjoy their festive nights out but to report any concerns or suspicious behaviour to them immediately.

Acting Det Insp Darren Irving, from Burnley CID, said: “This incident is more than just a robbery given the sexual assault that the victim endured.

“I can’t imagine how terrified she must have been.

“She is being supported by specially trained officers.

“I am aware that lots of people will be out enjoying nights out in Burnley this weekend, particularly with it being the festive period, and so my advice would be to go ahead and enjoy yourselves as normal but please remain vigilant and try and stay with groups of friends.

“If you see anyone acting suspiciously or you see this man, please speak to a police officer on the street or call 999 immediately.”

Anyone with information can call Burnley CID on 01282 472119 or 999 quoting incident reference 1587 of December 13.

Alternatively independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555111 or online at