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Warning after attempted child snatchings in West Earlham

PUBLISHED: 16:00 11 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:12 01 July 2010

Ben Kendall

Parents and children have been warned by police to be vigilant after a series of attempted child abductions in a Norwich neighbourhood.

It follows reports over the past fortnight of children, in groups or alone, being approached by individuals asking if they want a lift in a vehicle.

Parents and children have been warned by police to be vigilant after a series of attempted child abductions in a Norwich neighbourhood.

It follows reports over the past fortnight of children, in groups or alone, being approached by individuals asking if they want a lift in a vehicle.

None of the victims has been harmed but the grandfather of one victim told the Evening News the child was left badly shaken after the failed snatching.

The incidents have happened in the west of the city, particularly near shops in the West Earlham area. Norwich CID is investigating and schools have sent out warning letters. Patrols have been stepped up.

The victim's grandfather said: “Last week my grandson's three friends were nearly snatched. On Wednesday my own grandson was very nearly snatched.

“The man pulled his arm and he fought his way free and ran. He turned up at the door in tears and was absolutely terrified by the incident. I dread to think what would have happened if we hadn't taught him to put up a fight in situations like this.”

In all of the incidents the youngsters have been approached by a man in a silver car.

Norwich superintendent Nick Dean, said: “None of the children involved were harmed, however, officers are taking these incidents seriously and making every effort to trace the vehicle and the person involved to establish exactly what actually happened in each case.

“We are keen to remind young people that they should not talk to strangers and to tell a parent, teacher or police officer straight away if they are approached by someone suspicious.”

Advice to parents includes:

t Tell your child to avoid talking to people they do not know when you are not around.

t Make sure your child knows to never walk away with anyone without first telling the person in charge.

t Make sure your child understands that they should always tell you if a stranger approaches and to never keep this a secret.

t Tell your child to only take lifts with friends and to get out of a vehicle if they feel uncomfortable with someone.

t Have your children learn their address and telephone number by heart.

Officers are keen to hear from anybody who may have been approached in a similar manner or who has any other helpful information.

Contact Norfolk police on 0845 4564567 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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