Parents warned of man in white van who 'tried to snatch' two young boys in Kent

Two boys reportedly approached in separate incidents by a man or men who allegedy encouraged them to get into the vehicle

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The Independent Online

A warning has been issued to parents after a man in a white van allegedly attempted to snatch two young boys off the street.

Two separate incidents were reported in Kent, with police looking into an incident in Riverhead in which a 10-year-old boy was reportedly asked to get into a van, and in Sevenoaks in which a 12-year-old was allegedly approached by a van and followed.

Kent Police said they had been called on 1 March at 5.08 after a 10-year old reported a man acting suspiciously in Aisher War, Riverhead. An informant reported that a man pulled up alongside the boy as he was walking and tried to encourage him to get in - at which point he ran away.

And in the second incident, on 2 March, police were called to reports of suspicious behaviour in Grange Road, Sevenoaks at 3.37, when a 12-year-old boy reported that a van had stopped in the road and he was chased by the driver. The boy managed to run away and alerted his family when he got home.

A school in the area, Hugh Christie Technology College in Tonbridge, issued a warning to parents, stating: “We are concerned to hear of a report involving a man chasing a Hugh Christie student in the Sevenoaks area after leaving the school bus. The man was in a white van.“ 

“Please speak with your children regarding this. We advise if they are approached by a stranger and feel comfortable that they:

“Say the word ‘no’ clearly and loudly go away from the scene as fast as possible to a safe place like a shop or other public place, yell very loudly for help if necessary and tell you or other adult they know and trust about the incident as soon as possible.”

The man or men who allegedly approached the two boys are not believed to be known to either of them, while the incidents happened within a few miles of one another.

Acting Detective Inspector Garry Cook said: ”Incidents where children are approached in this manner are extremely rare but naturally cause concern in the community.

“Children are regularly taught at school how to stay safe and deal with incidents like this and both of them did exactly the right thing on these occasions.

”Whilst there may be an innocent explanation to both incidents I want to reassure everyone that we always take reports like this very seriously.

“We are carrying out a number of enquiries to try trace any vehicles and people which may be involved and I would urge anyone with information that may help, to contact us on 101.”