A MUM watched in horror as a stranger took her young son by the hand and tried to snatch him from a supermarket.
Lucy Wooldridge, 30, of Swanstead, Vange, is now too scared to let her son Kristian Warren out of her sight, after he was nearly taken from the Cooperative, in Hamlet Court Road, Westcliff.
Lucy had taken Kristian, who has just turned four, with his sister, Angel, five, to surprise their grandma Debbie Spooner, 53, at her nearby house, in Anerly Road, Westcliff.
They went to the Co-op to buy some sweets, but then Lucy panicked when she spotted Kristian was being led away by a man.
She heard him scream “mummy” and ran over to find him, and saw the man holding her son’s hand and telling him to “come here”.
She said: “It was horrible, I could hear the panic in Kristian’s voice when he shouted to me.
“I knew something was wrong, so I ran around and saw this man. I called at Kristian to come to me and the man let go and walked away. At first I thought maybe the man was trying to find me, but then staff in the shop said the man hadn’t been in the shop and he had seen Kristian, walked in and grabbed his hand.
“I said to my mum if I was two seconds later getting to him he would have gone.”
Police are now reviewing CCTV.
Lucy added: “I am still a nervous wreck about what happened.
“I will never forget it, it will stay with me forever.”
Her mum Debbie was told by police it would be difficult to prove the man was trying to abduct Kristian.
Debbie said: “People need to be aware of what happened.
“The first thing I thought of was Jamie Bulger. Lucy had told them if they ever can’t see her to shout at her. He remembered to do it.
“Afterwards, once my daughter knew everything was OK, she just collapsed in tears. It was awful, you can’t put into words the fear that goes through your mind.”
Essex Police said they are continuing to investigate.
A spokesman said: “Police were contacted shortly before 5pm on Thursday, June 26 to suspicious circumstances at the Cooperative, in Hamlet Court Road, Westcliff. It was reported a male had offered to take the hand of a three-year-old boy. Police arrived at the scene and reviewed CCTV. Inquiries continue.”