Concern voiced over child abduction bids

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A COUNCILLOR has told of his concerns after two attempted child abductions in less than 24 hours.

Emsworth ward councillor Richard Galloway is backing detectives in their hunt for the attempted kidnapper.

It comes after a man attempted to grab a 12-year-old girl from a path known as the yellow brick road, Between Purbrook Way and Middle Park Way in Leigh Park at about 1.50pm on Tuesday.

The man grabbed her arms with both hands and told her to go with him, but she managed to break free and flee the scene.

The second incident happened at about 8.30am on Tuesday in Southleigh Road, Emsworth, when a man tried to grab an 11-year-old boy.

He was about to cross the road when a man got out of a red van and grabbed him by the wrist.

The schoolboy shouted, screamed and pinched the man and managed to escape after he eventually let go.

Cllr Galloway said: ‘I’m very concerned to hear this.

‘I’m sure the police will be doing everything they can to catch the perpetrator.

‘It’s a horrible thing to happen, especially at this time of year.

‘Emsworth is a very safe place. I have not come across anything like this since I have been a councillor.’

Meanwhile police are linked the two incidents. Officers have stepped up patrols in the areas and are conducting house-to-house inquiries as well as working with the children, their families and schools.

The public are urged to be alert and report any suspicious behaviour.

Detective Inspector Jeff Huggett from Waterlooville CID said: ‘I would like to reassure the public that we are working hard to identify the man responsible and have increased police patrols in the area, particularly around school times.’

The man who attempted to abduct the girl has tanned skin, is aged between 40 and 50 and 6ft tall with a round face, blue eyes and short, thick black hair.

He has a recent scratch on his lift cheek. and spoke with a northern accent.

The man wore a thick, black coat down to his knees and light blue jeans, which were tucked inside muddy, steel toe-capped boots.

In the second incident the man is described as being tanned and in his late 40s.

He was wearing jeans, with a hole in the knee, and black boots.

The van was dark red with a sliding back door with blackened out windows.

There were lights on the front and round the roof of the van.

Call Waterlooville CId with information on 101 or the Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555111.