A WOMAN was sexually assaulted after being lured down an isolated country lane after getting into what she thought was a taxi outside a pub.

Describing the sexual assault as serious, detectives said it only stopped when a passer-by interrupted the attacker.

Police said the victim, who in her 20s, is now being supported by specially trained officers following the 'horrendous ordeal', which happened in Clitheroe on February 8.

Officers said that at around 11.30pm, the victim got into what she believed was a taxi outside the White Lion pub on Hey Road.

She gave the driver of the car her address, but he drove to a deserted country lane close to Edisford Bridge, where he sexually assaulted her.

Police said the attacker, who is described as Asian and in his 40s, was startled by a passing car and stopped his assault. He has then driven the woman home.

The car he was driving is described as silver.

Although the incident is said to have happened in February, it was only recently reported to police.

Det Sgt Sarah Hargreaves said: "The victim in this case was put through a horrendous ordeal and has only just felt able to report it.

“We are now determined to find the person responsible and are asking for the public's help. Perhaps you saw the car outside the pub or in the area of Edisford Bridge between 11.30pm and midnight that night, perhaps you have dashcam of a vehicle you think may be the car in question, or maybe you think you know who is responsible.

"If you have any information at all, please get in touch with us.

"We know this incident will have been concerning for residents but we are working extremely hard to find the person responsible and in the meantime will have extra patrols in the area as a precaution.

"If you are planning a night out in Clitheroe, we would not advise that you change your plans at all, but instead take some basic steps to stay safe, including staying in a group and pre-booking a taxi home.”

More personal safety tips can be found at www.lancashire.police.uk/help-advice/personal-safety/staying-safe-when-out-and-about/

Anybody with information is asked to contact police on 101, quoting log number 134 of March 15.