Parents warned after nine-year-old grabbed in Portsmouth

Steve Hopes from the Southsea Safer Neighbourhood Team. ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (141919-9284)
Steve Hopes from the Southsea Safer Neighbourhood Team. ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (141919-9284)
Portsmouth Magistrates Court.''Picture: Cesar Moreno Huerta

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PARENTS have been warned to be vigilant after a nine-year-old boy was grabbed by a man when on his way to school.

The boy, who attends Meon Junior School in Milton, Portsmouth, was walking along Locksway Road towards Milton Park at about 8.30am on Wednesday when he was approached by a man.

The man took hold of his right wrist briefly but the boy was not threatened or injured.

Headteacher Christine Turner has sent a letter to parents in which she said: ‘I write to ask that you are vigilant when you are delivering or collecting your child. The police have agreed to patrol the area over the next few days.’

She added: ‘We’re working closely with police and giving appropriate advice to parents and pupils.’

A Hampshire Constabulary spokesman said: ‘We can confirm enquiries are being made into a report of a man’s behaviour that caused concern to a child in Southsea.

‘No criminal motives or offences have been confirmed at this time. There could be an innocent explanation for what happened.’

Meanwhile, in a separate incident which is not being linked, police are also appealing for information to identify a man who approached a teenage girl in Buckland.

The 15-year-old was walking alone through the children’s play area in Buckland Park off Washington Road between 11.35am and 11.45am on Wednesday. A man sitting on a bench with a bike approached the girl and took hold of her hand. He let go moments later and cycled away towards North End.

He is black and wore a lime green hooded jogging top.

Hampshire Constabulary Detective Inspector Jeff Huggett said: ‘Although there was physical contact between the man and the girl, the 15-year-old was not injured.

‘We’d like to thank the teenager and family members for her courage and co-operation as detectives seek to establish more details.

‘We are keen to speak to a woman walking a small brown dog who was in the park at the time of the incident.’

Call CID at Fratton Police Station by phoning 101 or call the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555111 where information can be left anonymously.