Detectives have issued a description of a suspect after a 35-year-old woman was raped on her way home from a night out in Colne.
The attack happened sometime between 9-40pm and 10-15pm on Saturday, August 17th at the rear of Exchange Street.
A 35-year-old local man arrested on suspicion of rape on Wednesday, August 21st has been released without charge.
The victim was making her way home from a night out and had left the Union Exchange pub before making her way along Market Street and on to Parliament Street and was walking in the direction of Exchange Street when she met a lone man smoking a cigarette at the junction with Blascomy Square.
The pair spoke and a short time later the woman was attacked at the rear of Exchange Street.
The suspect is described as white, aged about 40 years, with shaved hair, stocky build and a tattoo on his arm. He was wearing a white shirt and black trousers and smelt of alcohol and cigarettes. He spoke with a local accent.
Police believe the attacker may have been disturbed when someone has been heard speaking further up the backstreet. Police are appealing for any witnesses to come forward.
Detective Inspector Jim Elston said: “This appears to be an opportunist attack on a vulnerable lone woman returning home from a night out.
“This is a vicious crime which has had a significant impact on the victim who is being supported by specially trained officers”.
“I would appeal to anybody that saw a man acting suspiciously in the area around the time of the offence or anyone that thinks they may have witnessed this incident to contact police as a matter of urgency.
“We are carrying out extra patrols in the area and if anyone has any concerns I would urge them to speak to an officer.”
Officers are carrying out CCTV and house to house enquires but anyone with any information that could assist police with their investigation should contact Lancashire Police on 101. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.