Police try to quash rumours of attempted child abductions

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POLICE are investigating after reports of a suspicious man approaching children across Derbyshire.

The incidents relate to claims a man in a vehicle approached youngsters – but officers are urging parents not to be alarmed.

On May 1 an 11-year-old girl told her mother that a man in a small car drove past her in Middleton but then reversed as if to speak to her. She was frightened and ran off.

On May 2 a ten-year-old boy in Wirksworth said that, as he was playing outside his home and a man got out of his car and offered him sweets. The boy ran away and the man drove off.

In Belper two children who were walking to school on April 23 when they claim they were offered a lift by a man who was driving a 4x4.

They refused and he drove off. He made no attempt to persuade them into the car or follow them.

A police spokeswoman said: “We don’t want to cause undue alarm but it’s important for children to be aware of what to do if they are scared by an approach from a stranger.

“We are aware that unsubstantiated rumours of child abductions are circulating on social networking websites. We are working to clarify what is true and what is speculation.“

He added: “Children have given us different descriptions of both the vehicle and the man involved so we have no reason to link these incidents. However we are taking these allegations seriously.

“It may be that some children are being unnecessarily concerned but as a precaution Safer Neighbourhood officers have spoken to headteachers at local schools.

“We are asking them to re-enforce the stranger danger messages that are normally issued to students. We would also like parents and other adults to be on the look-out for anyone acting suspiciously.”

Anyone who sees anything suspicious should contact the police immediately on 101.

* Last month we reported an alleged attempted child abduction in Staveley.

Ten-year-old Charlie Roberts said she was grabbed by a stranger as she walked through a park.

Police are investigating.