A young mum has spoken of how she feared for her life after masked men tried to force her car to a stop at night in Leyland.
The woman, from Bamber Bridge, said she "feared for her life" after two masked men tried to ambush her as she drove down Stanifield Lane at 7.30pm on Thursday, January 3.
According to the woman, her assailants tried to force her to stop by holding a 'cable' across the road in front of her car.
The mum-of-two said she encountered the two masked men, standing at either side of the road, as she was returning home from work.
She said one of the men "threw a wire-cable across the road" to his accomplice and lifted the cable into position as she approached them.
Slowing down to avoid hitting the cable, she said she was 'terrified' when one of the men suddenly charged towards her car.
She quickly hit the accelerator and escaped before the man reached her door.
The woman reported the incident to police and shared her concerns on a Facebook community group.
Thousands of people shared the post, with many expressing concern about possible carjackers targeting women drivers in Leyland and Farington.
But could the terrifying encounter have been a nasty prank?
This theory was raised by some members of the community who said the incident resembled a juvenile prank that had recently gone viral.
They suggested that the 'carjackers' could have been teenagers trying to trick motorists with a so-called 'fake rope road prank'.
The prank appears to have originated in the US, before growing popular with British teenagers after a YouTube video went viral.
As seen in the video (above), the pranksters stand at either side of the road and pretend to hold a thin wire between them. The hoax forces alarmed motorists to stop to avoid hitting the 'wire'.
But if it was a prank, the woman was not left laughing.
She said: "I've never been so scared in my life. I was an absolute mess when I got home."
She has reported the incident to police and issued a warning to drivers in Leyland.
She said: "Everyone in Leyland and the surrounding area .. please BE CAREFUL whilst driving.
"I was driving down Stanifield Lane in Leyland and noticed a lad at the side of the road. He was wearing a hi viz jacket, which was lit up white, with a face mask on, all black.
"He threw a wire-cable across the road to another lad, to obviously try and stop my car, then one of them tried running towards my car.
"But luckily I managed to drive off. I've never been so scared in my life.
"They both had push bikes with them. The police are out looking for them."
Police patrolled the area shorty after the woman's report, but found no sign of the men. But officers suspect there may be more to it than a juvenile prank.
Investigating officer PC Grundy has a different theory about the masked men and their mysterious cable.
He said: "I attended the area shortly afterwards and checked all down Stanifield Lane, but there was no sign of anyone matching the descriptions.
"Nothing had been discarded in the road and no apparent preparation at the side of the road of any cabling.
"But we have had several cable thefts recently, very close by near the railway station, from a BT building, whereby large, long cabling has been stolen for the value of the copper.
"It is far more likely that they were passing a cable between each other for this purpose, or messing around with the plastic sheathing."
But whether Jade's assailants were menacing carjackers or merely reckless pranksters, PC Grundy has a grim warning for them.
He said: "If the cable was not attached to anything at both hands and they held the cable, if a car did in fact hit it, it would rip the offending males hands off and cause little damage to a vehicle.
"We have had no similar reports, this has been an isolated incident. It could well be a call with good intent but which the concerned person has mistaken the intention behind it."