A primary school has issued a safety alert to parents after a man was seen apparently trying to coax four-year-old girls into his car – in a chilling copy of April Jones’ disappearance.
Police have stepped-up patrols around Millbrook Primary School, in Swindon, Wilts., after worried parents reported a man acting suspiciously in a nearby carpark.
Several parents reported they had seen an elderly-looking man in a green Ford Escort asking youngsters to look at Wallace and Gromit toys inside his car on Thursday afternoon.
By the time officers arrived at the scene, the man had fled.
This shocking incident comes in the same week as police in Wales are conducting a massive search into the abduction of five-year-old April Jones.
Concerned headmistress Karen Pyman has been in charge of the school for 18 months and has never heard of anything like this before, but insisted the note sent out to parents was also put on the school gates to warn other parents whose children do not go to the school.
She said: “I do not know much about it other than what was said in the alert.
“No member of staff knew anything about it at the time.
“We felt that other people who were in the area at the time may have seen something, so that’s why we issued the alert.
“This is the first time that I have heard about anything like this at the school.
“We had the alerts laminated and put up on the gates outside the school to warn other parents in the area to be on their guard.”
The school issued an alert to worried parents which read: “A parent reported to the school that there had been an incident in the supermarket car park next to Millbrook Primary School.
“An elderly man in a green Ford Escort car had doors open and tried to encourage two young girls, aged approximately four and five, to get in to have a look at figures of Wallace and Gromit, which he had in the car.
“Another parent was able to confirm that she had also witnessed this, with another child being asked to get into the car.
“The incident has been passed to the police.
“Please remind your pupils of the importance of awareness of their personal safety. It is sensible to go to and from school with others if possible and also play, along popular and open routes.
“It is safer to try to avoid unnecessary confrontation and students should always report aggressive or inappropriate behaviour towards them to a responsible adult as soon as possible.”
A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said: “Wiltshire Police received a call shortly after 4pm on Thursday, October 4 from a parent of a child at Millbrook Junior School, Swindon.
“The woman was concerned about an elderly man who was standing by a car off school property.
“As the woman walked past the car, the man spoke briefly to her and her children.
“The woman was with her children at all times and the man did not attempt to approach the children.
“Officers attended the scene and there was no man or car matching the description given to us.
“There is no evidence of any crime being committed whatsoever and parents should not be unduly concerned.
“Officers will be increasing patrols in the area as an extra reassurance.”
Anybody with any information regarding the incident are being asked to contact Wiltshire Police on 101.