Series Of Sinister Approaches On Ulster Children

Police have issued warnings to parents following the fourth in a series of approaches to children this month. In two of the incidents, strangers tried to abduct children. In a third, a man thought to be in his 40s, asked a 14-year-old girl for sex.

The man, described as balding, made the proposition after calling the teenager over to his car parked in the New Road area of Newtownards on Monday evening.

Meanwhile, police have appealed for information after a man was spotted acting suspiciously in Warrenpoint yesterday morning. The incident, involving a 10-year-old girl, highlights the heightened awareness of child abduction since the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

The man was described as 5ft, 7in, of thin build, with short, dark hair, and wearing a white tracksuit with black lines on the sleeves and legs.

It is understood that a man also tried to lure a 10-year-old boy into his car in Dundonald last Friday.

It is believed the boy was making his way to Brooklands Primary School when he was approached by a man in a dark-blue coloured car who offered him sweets and a lift.

The pupil was walking in the Lismore and Rosneath Gardens area of Ballybeen at about 9.30am.

The driver was described as in his 30s, with dark brown hair and wearing dark clothing.

The school’s principal, David McCartney, said letters were sent to parents advising them of the incident.

He also praised the actions of his pupil: “He did exactly as he was told – that’s say no, come to school, report it to school and we’ll report it to the police. He is a star.”

Constable Rab Gardiner, PSNI schools liaison officer at Castlereagh, urged parents of pupils of all ages to accompany their children to school.

He said: “However, there are a number of children who do make their way to school on their own. We advise them to take simple precautions, to walk in groups, use the main roads and not take short cuts down alleyways or through parks.

“If something does happen, get as far away from the car as possible, run the other way and always run where there are plenty of people.”

Last week, the Belfast Telegraph also reported an incident in Kircubbin in which a man asked a 10-year- old boy to get into his car.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 0845 6008000 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.