Police are hunting a group of men who attempted to abduct two teenage girls who were wrongly mistaken as young escorts by the perpetrator’s.

The two victims, aged 18 and 19, were cycling in the city centre at about 4.30pm yesterday when a group of men came out of a white taxi.

The men, who are said to be of European appearance, approached the girls and tried to grab them.

The 18-year-old managed to escape but suffered facial bruising.

The 19-year-old was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure.

Their descriptions of the men are not being released for operational reasons.

Superintendent Michael Danford said: ‘These offences should serve as a stark reminder to people to be vigilant in the city centre at all times.

‘Where we find a group of unknown individuals that are attracted to young girls walking around the city centre looking for female escorts at this time of day then it is absolutely imperative that we act as quickly as possible and look for any suspicious behaviour as quickly as possible.

‘I would also urge parents to make sure that their children are aware of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in the city centre.’

‘Every year we receive a number of reports of attempted abductions but in recent months, these incidents have increased in frequency and apparent seriousness.

‘Although the victims have managed to fight their way free, this is a very serious issue in this city and I would encourage all the community to share this message.’