A schoolgirl was touched inappropriately while walking home in Hitchin yesterday - and detectives are now appealing for witnesses to come forward.

The Year 7 student was walking along the footpath between Cambridge Road and Cooks Way at around 4.10pm, when she was passed by two men aged around 18, who were walking in the opposite direction.

As they passed her, one of the men inappropriately touched her over her clothing. The men did not stop or attempt to engage the victim in conversation and continued on their way.

Police were contacted as soon as the student arrived home and an investigation to trace the offender commenced immediately.

The offender is described as a lighter-skinned black man around 5’7” tall and of average build. He had short light brown hair and was wearing a black jacket with an emblem on the chest.

The man that was with him was also a lighter-skinned black man, around 5’6” tall and of stocky build. He had short dark dreadlocks with orange tips, that stuck up on his head. He was wearing a black gilet and dark trousers.

Detective Sergeant Zoe Maddison said: “We appreciate that news of this incident will cause understandable concern in the community, but we would like to reassure the public that we always take reports of this nature very seriously and will do all we can to thoroughly investigate.

“We are keeping the victim and her family updated as our enquiries progress and as a reassurance measure over the coming weeks, we will be carrying out extra high-visibility patrols in the town at the end of the school day.”

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Assistant Investigator Frances Aylin on Frances.Aylin@herts.police.uk.

You can also report information online at herts.police.uk/report, speak to an operator via the online web chat at herts.police.uk/contact or call the non-emergency number 101, quoting crime reference 41/3104/22.

Alternatively, you can stay anonymous by contacting the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their untraceable online form at crimestoppers-uk.org.