Schoolchildren and parents have been asked to be ‘vigilant’ after two incidents where girls were targeted by men in a suspicious car.

In the first case, at 8.15am on Wednesday, November 14, a 15-year-old girl was walking along Preston Road towards Chorley town centre when a dark, possibly black, Fiat saloon pulled up in the layby outside the hospital.

Two men in the car, which was travelling in the direction of Preston, asked the girl for directions before trying to persuade her to get in the car.

At that point the teenager ran away and raised the alarm.

She was not physically injured but was left shaken by the incident.

Two days later, again at 8.15am, a second incident happened in Leyland in Stanifield Lane, on the Railway pub car park.

The victim, a 12-year-old girl, who was going to school, was approached by a man, driving a dark coloured car.

He drove towards her and asked her for directions.

As she walked off, he followed her in his car driving slowly down Moss Lane.

As he drove down Moss Lane, the vehicle behind him sounded his horn because of the slow speed he was driving at. Detective Sergeant Ian Derbyshire, from Leyland CID, said: “Understandably the girl has been upset by her experience and she is being supported by her family and specially trained officers.

“I am particularly keen to speak to the driver of the vehicle who was behind this dark coloured car as they may have witnessed where the car went. If that was you then I would ask you to contact police immediately.

“There was a similar incident earlier in the week and I am keeping an open mind as to whether the two are linked.

“In the meantime I would ask residents to be vigilant and report anything suspicious to the police.”

Police added that after the Chorley incident they would like to speak to a man who was in a white van with a dog, parked on the hospital car park next to a pay and display sign, who may be a witness.