Police play down girls in car boot claims in Preston

Car park in Southgate, off North Road, Preston.
Car park in Southgate, off North Road, Preston.
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Police have been urged to take action after claims that a stranger locked two terrified schoolgirls in the boot of his car in Preston.

Angry relatives allege one of the 14-year-old friends was hit in the face during the ordeal which followed allegations of damage to a vehicle near the city centre.

The two were released after officers and family members arrived at the car park off North Road on Sunday.

The incident sparked an avalanche of calls on social media for the driver and a number of other men at the scene to be arrested.

But Lancashire Police have revealed no “serious” offences are being investigated following the confrontation in Southgate.

A spokesman insisted the girls had not been held in the boot of the car and that a complaint of assault had been made by one of them, but then withdrawn.

“It’s disgusting,” said the grandfather of one of four girls who were allegedly chased by the men - two of them managing to get away.

“According to her mum, one of the two who were caught and put in the boot of the car suffered cuts to her face and a black eye. Yet the police aren’t treating it as serious?

"Well I’m sorry, the families are. These men shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it.”

Police say they received two calls around the same time reporting children “causing a nuisance” in Southgate and also criminal damage to a vehicle.

They were forced to put out a statement on social media denying two girls had been abducted by a group of men.

They later admitted an incident had occurred, but no “serious” crime had been committed.