Police have moved to reassure parents after posts circulated on social media relating to people "acting suspiciously" around children in south Essex.

Last week the Echo reported a worried mum was approached by a woman in London Road, Leigh, who tried to convince her to go to her home.

After a number of comments made to her, the young mum feared the woman was trying to take her daughter.

READ MORE >>> Woman ‘interested in daughter’ ambushes mum on London Road, Leigh

But Essex Police have offered reassurance after a number of posts appeared on social media reporting similar incidents.

In a police message to parents sent out by St Thomas More High School, in Westcliff, Superintendent Bonnie Moore said no criminal offences have been reported to the force relating to issues of people acting suspiciously around children.

She said: "Posts are circulating on social media relating to concerns about people acting suspiciously around children, especially in the South of our county.

"As you will know, posts on social media can be widely shared and quickly reach a large number of people, and Essex Police is aware of the escalating concern among members of our community.

"As a parent myself, I completely understand why people are anxious, and I am therefore writing to you to offer some clarity on the situation as we currently understand it.

"At this time, no criminal offences have been reported to Essex Police relating to these issues.

"We have received some reports relating to suspicious behaviour, and a number of calls where people have seen posts on social media and want to understand more information.

"In addition to matters that are directly reported to us, our intelligence teams review social media platforms on a daily basis.

"There is no link between the locations, descriptions of people or the actions being reported, and based on the intelligence picture we have currently, we do not believe there to be a risk to the general public.

"Any threat assessment is dynamic and will be continuously reviewed on receipt of new information."

Supt Moore requested parents to report incidents to police "as soon as possible, with as much detail as you can."

"The sooner it is reported, the greater the chance is that we will be able to get officers to the location while the person is still there to investigate," she said.

She also called on parents to understand that not everything observed on social media will necessarily amount to a criminal offence that can be pursued.

"Try and resist sharing or commenting on social media posts if you are unaware of the accuracy of them," she said.

"There is a possibility of putting people at risk who have not committed any offences."