Suspicious ‘stranger’ incidents may be linked, say police

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Police are urging parents and guardians to warn children about talking with strangers after five reports of suspicious incidents.

The most recent happened in Garden Road, Dunstable, on Friday when a man tried to get a 10-year- old girl into a vehicle.

Detectives from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Team, led by Det Insp Jon McAdam, are investigating this case and a further four reports of a similar nature that may be linked.

On January 19 at 12noon, a 12-year-old girl was playing in Morris Road, Dunstable, and a small car stopped. The driver, a white man, aged 30, with a bald head, spoke to the girl and asked her name before driving away.

On March 4, a man was spotted following children on their way to and from school at 8.30am and again at 3.30pm in an alley that runs between Mentmore Gardens and Grovebury Road in Leighton Buzzard. The man is described as white, of average height with a bald head and wearing a grey jacket.

On March 7 at 7.45am, two 13-year-old girls were walking to school in Union Street, Dunstable, and were followed by a white man with a bald head, wearing black boots, blue jeans and a bomber-style jacket before they began to run from him. He started to chase after them before getting into a white vehicle and leaving the scene. On March 12, a 13-year-old girl was grabbed by a man in Union Street, Dunstable. She managed to struggle free and ran to school to report the incident.

Det Insp McAdam said: “These incidents are being thoroughly investigated to ensure those responsible are tracked down. Officers need to trace anyone who may have witnessed any of the five incidents that have been reported so far and also anyone who believes their child has been approached by a man in a similar way recently.”

Bedfordshire Police’s children and young people development officer, Richard Denton, is contacting all schools and educational establishments in the Dunstable area to warn of these incidents and to give personal safety advice.

He said: “These types of incidents remain rare and luckily during all the reports received so far the children have not come to any harm. Bedfordshire Police will be stepping up patrols in the areas and I will be liaising with local schools.

“I would ask parents and guardians to take this opportunity to remind their children about what to do should they be approached by a stranger.”