A MUM is warning parents after a man wearing a balaclava robbed her 11-year-old daughter.

Sophie Walsh was walking with her friend Grace Lister, 12, along Moor Road, Chorley, near the Co-op convenience store at 7pm on Thursday.

A man dressed in black wearing a balaclava got out of a car and punched Sophie and grabbed her schoolbag.

Grace started to kick and punch the attacker and he got back in the car and it was driven off at speed.

The girls were left very shaken and feared that Sophie could have been abducted.

Mum Lisa Walsh said: "I am so proud of the girls as they managed to look after each other and it could have been so much worse.

"I just feels awful that it has happened.

"Sophie is alright but if it had not been for Grace then she could have been kidnapped.

"I am so grateful to her as she was kicking him and punching him to get him off after the screaming he got off and jumped in the car.

"The girls were just so shocked all they can remember is that he was wearing black and a balaclava and could only see his eyes.

"They think someone else was driving because he just jumped in the car and it drove off.

"It was pitch black so they cannot remember the car.

"We are just appealing for anyone who saw anyone in those clothes or acting suspiciously to get in contact with the police."

Sophie's clothes were ripped, her bag was taken and her blue school tie was missing.

Grace's mum Hayley Lister said: "Grace was not going to let her friend get taken.

"I cannot believe the strength she has got to get a grown man off her.

"It is a concern that someone has done this and I would urge other schoolkids to not be walking alone.

"It is not as if it was a quiet road it was a main road in Chorley so someone would have seen something."

A police spokesman said: "We can confirm we received a report that a man approached two girls before grabbing one, punching her to the face and making off with her school bag.

"We understand that people will be alarmed and we would like to reassure members of the public that we take all reports of this nature seriously, and it is being investigated thoroughly.

"Both girls are now being supported by specially trained detectives and we have increased uniformed patrols in the area."

Detective Inspector Steve Monk said: “We would urge members of the public to be vigilant, as always, but at this point the intention behind this incident is unclear.

“We are still in the very early stages of our investigation.

“We would ask anybody with information about the incident, or who was in the area at the time and saw anything that appeared unusual, to get in touch, and we would also urge any motorists who were in the area at the time who may have dashcam footage to contact us.”

Contact Lancashire Police on 101 using the reference number 1169 on January 17.