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Parents urged not to panic over child snatching alarm
SOUTHEND’S district commander has called for calm as officers investigate reports of attempted abductions.
And he revealed police were not convinced the same white vanman was involved because of distinct differences in the children’s accounts.
He said: “It is a concern to any resident and especially parents such as myself who live in the borough.
“We’ve looked at each case in detail and I would like to reassure everybody that no attempt was made by anyone to physically grab a child.
“Four matters have been brought to our attention and two were of particular concern as young boys reported a stranger inviting them to get into his van.”
More details have emerged about the three incidents which happened last Thursday.
The ten-year-old girl in Bellhouse Road, Leigh, was stared at by a man in a clean white van who watched her as she walked down the road at about 3.45pm. She said the man had short brown hair and wore a green T-shirt.
Half-an-hour later a 12-year-old boy was approached in Martock Avenue, Westcliff, by a white man in a white van in his thirties who told him to “get in”.
The boy ran off but he described the van as “dirty”. He said the man had black hair and was balding on top wearing a white polo shirt.
In a third incident, two boys were approached by a van in a car park off Eagle Way, Shoebury, and were, oddly, offered a lift to school at about 4.30pm. The man was this time described as having short brown hair and wearingawhite T-shirt.
Mr Bennett added: “These two reports (in Westcliff and Shoebury) are unlikely to be linked down to differences in the details and the time at which they happened.
“But we’re keeping an open mind. We would encourage anyone with any information to contact police.
“Our advice remains the same as before, that children should never speak to strangers or get into a stranger’s car.”
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