A YOUNG girl was the victim of a violent sexual assault in Great Harwood.
The youngster was playing with friends when she was approached by a man on Tuesday.
Police say the attacker then asked the child to follow him into a wooded area where he carried out the attack.
Officers were alerted by a family who found the youngster wandering down the road in a distressed state.
Two men went into the woods searching for her attacker.
They found a man matching the description given by the child and carried out a citizen’s arrest, detaining him until the police arrived.
The child was taken by ambulance to the Royal Blackburn Hospital.
Forensic scientists and crime scene investigators were continuing a detailed forensic examination of the scene on Wednesday.
Detective Superintendent Andy Webster, leading the investigation, said: "This was a despicable attack on an innocent young girl.
"I commend the bravery of the two men who immediately went to search the area while the call was made to the police.
"Inquiries are still at an early stage and I would appeal to members of the public who may have been in the area between 6pm and 7pm to come forward and contact us.
"I would be particularly interested to speak to anyone who may have seen a man in the area who is described as being in his late teens, having short dark hair and wearing a blue t-shirt.
"Attacks like this are rare and I would like to reassure the public that the Police and the CPS have a very high success rate of catching and prosecuting offenders of this type."
Twelve detectives and 18 police officers have now been assigned to the case. Anyone with any information should call police on 08451 233545 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
* A 17-year-old boy, from St. Helens, who is staying in Clayton-le-Moors, has been charged with Section 20 assault and sexual assault by touching.