Child abduction bids in Emsworth and Leigh Park

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Two children have escaped abduction attempts thought to have been the work of the same man.

Police revealed today that the incidents happened in Leigh Park yesterday and at Emsworth this morning.

Detectives believed that the kidnap bids are linked.

In the first a man tried to grab a 12-year-old schoolgirl from behind at around 1.50pm, yesterday in Leigh Park.

Police say the girl was walking along the ‘yellow brick road’, between Purbrook Way and Middle Park Way, when the man grabbed her arms with both hands and told her to go with him.

The girl managed to break free and ran away.

The man is described as:

Tanned skin

About 40-50-years-old

About six feet tall

Round shaped face

Blue eyes

Black, thick, short hair, about 1cm long

He had a recent scratch on his left cheek

He had a northern accent

At the time of the incident he was wearing a thick, black coat, down to his knees and light blue jeans, which were tucked inside muddy, steel toe cap boots.

Police said that in a similar incident in Emsworth at about 8.30am today, a man attempted to grab an 11-year-old boy in Southleigh Road, Emsworth.

The boy was about to cross the road when a man got out of a red van and grabbed the boy’s wrist.

The boy shouted, screamed and pinched the man. The man let go and the boy ran away across the road into the traffic causing several cars beeped at him.

The boy described the man as:

Tanned skin

Late 40s

At the time of the incident he was wearing jeans, with a hole in the knee and black boots.

The van is described as dark red, with rear sliding door with blacked out windows. There were lights on the front and around the roof of the van.

Police said that while both the boy and girl were not harmed in any way, they were understandably shaken.

Officers are searching both areas, conducting house-to-house enquiries and working with the children and their families.

Detective Inspector Jeff Hugget, from Waterlooville CID, said: ‘Both children did the right thing by running away and raising the alarm. I would like to ask parents to remind their children of the stranger danger message and to report any incidents to us.

‘I would like to reassure the public that we are working hard to identify the man responsible and have increased police patrols in the areas, particularly around school times.

‘“We would like to hear from anyone who may have been in either of the areas around the times stated and in particular anyone who witnessed either of the incidents. We would also like to hear from anyone who recognises the man from the descriptions given.’

Anyone with information is asked to call Waterlooville CID on 101. Alternatively call the anonymous Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.