Two schoolgirls who claimed to have been assaulted and locked in the boot of a car in Preston have now admitted they exaggerated.
Police who re-interviewed the 15-year-olds in the presence of their parents have released a statement saying some of the allegations were false and that no further action is being taken.
“Both the girls and their parents agreed there was no abduction and they were never placed in the boot of a car," said Chief Insp Steve Sansbury.
"We have revisited both girls and their families and they have confirmed they do not want any further police action to be taken with regard to the matter. They would ask for their privacy to be respected."
The girls, who live in Ribbleton, originally accused a group of men of chasing them following a complaint that two cars had been vandalised in Southgate, off North Road, Preston on Sunday afternoon.
Both claimed to have been assaulted - one slapped in the face and the other kicked in the ribs - and they alleged the men had bundled them into the boot of a Black Mercedes.
They said the car drove off for a short distance and then stopped, at which point they were taken out of the boot and locked in the back seat. The allegations prompted furore on social media.
But, after interviewing both girls and one of the men, police say a different story has now emerged.
The man who put the girls in the back seat of his car was the owner of a business unit nearby and had earlier phoned police to say he was detaining them until officers could get to the scene.
"Officers dealt with matters at the scene and the girls were taken to a police station and words of advice were given to all the parties," explained Chief Insp Sansbury.
“Following further claims in local media this week, both girls, as well as their parents, were spoken to again by police and provided accounts of what had happened.
“We understand they were chased by some men in cars following the criminal damage to two vehicles then detained pending the arrival of the police a short time later. No-one has been arrested.
“The suggestion officers have pressurised or intimidated those involved to withdraw allegations is inaccurate.
"An allegation of assault was initially made to police, but then withdrawn and neither girl had any visible injuries.
“I have personally spoken to both the girls involved and their parents and completely understand the upset both the incident itself and the subsequent media attention caused.
"I have taken steps to address any concerns they have raised and would like to thank them for their patience and understanding whilst we have tried to establish exactly what happened.
“I would like to make it absolutely clear neither the two girls involved, nor their families, contributed to the initial social media post which claimed the girls had been abducted by a group of men and put in the boot of a car. This was a claim made by a third party which was inaccurate.
"While we recognise an incident did take place, it in no way reflected the seriousness of the initial claims of abduction, which we had moved to clarify earlier this week.
"The criticism the families have received on social media is totally unjustified and is a clear reminder of the significant impact sharing misinformation as fact can have on people’s lives.”