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Gloucestershire schools warned of stranger danger after suspected abduction attempts

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 27, 2014

The Lawns in Gotherington

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SCHOOLS across Gloucestershire are being warned to be on their guard after a series of suspected abduction attempts.

The warning was prompted after an 11-year-old boy was approached by two men in a silver car in Malleson Road, Gotherington.

The incident happened around 3.30pm last Thursday, and the youngster reported it to his parents, who told the school.

Two men - one old and one young - were involved.

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The older man had an American accent and both men were dressed in casual clothing.

The latest incident follows three similar incidents in Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and Churchdown. Police are investigating if the incidents are linked.

A 17-year-old victim was walking on Village Road towards the junction of Tanner’s Lane and Dill Avenue in Cheltenham around 3.15pm on January 11 when she was grabbed by a man.

The silver vehicle, which was described as possibly a Ford Focus, was parked on the side of the road when a man approached her. He spoke to her before grabbing her arm.

He was scared off by a dog walker, who got in his car and drove off in the direction of the Cross Hands pub.

He is described as white, around 5ft 6in tall and of large build with stubble on his face and mousy, blond, spiky hair.He was wearing a cream, or grey jumper with blue jeans and brown shoes.

On the same day, around 4pm, a man in a dark red car approached two 12-year-old girls in York Road, Tewkesbury, and asked them to get in.

The man, described as in his 50s, was wearing a dark beanie hat and reading glasses.

The girls ran away and the man drove off in the direction of Queen’s Road.

On January 15, a 21-year-old woman got off a bus at Parton Road, Churchdown, around 6.30pm.

She crossed the road and was walking in the direction of St John’s Avenue when she became aware of a silver car pulling up along side her.

The man asked her to get in several times, and she tried to cross the road to raise the attentions of a dog walker. But the driver pulled up beside her and blocked her.

When she refused, he laughed and drove away in the direction of the Hare and Hounds pub.

The driver was described as a white man, in his 20s, with a skinny face and arms.

He had mousy brown hair, which was short but not shaven on the sides, and spiky hair on top.

He was wearing a blue short sleeved top with a collar and buttons, possibly a polo shirt.

His car is described as a silver five-door hatchback, possibly a Citroen.

A spokesman for the police said: "There have been several reports of suspicious behaviour but we would just urge everyone to remain calm and vigilant.

"It is important to stress that safety messages have been circulated by schools and parents across social media, in some cases fuelling further speculation, rumours and reports, albeit made with the right intentions.

"We don't have any evidence of criminal intent in these cases and no one has been harmed.

"However we understand people's concerns and would urge parents and children to visit the Kids Aware section of our website just in case your child is spoken to by a stranger."

Paul McLain, Cabinet member for children and young people and commissioning at Gloucestershire County Council said, “We take incidents like this very seriously and react immediately by sending rapid warnings to all schools, head teachers, children’s centres, independent schools and colleges."

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