A man suspected of trying to kidnap a nine-year-old girl on her way home from school by luring her with sweets is being hunted by police.
The girl left school in Wandsworth, south London, and got on a bus on 2 November, Scotland Yard detectives said as they released a CCTV image of the suspect seven months after the incident took place.
When she got off the bus around 15 minutes later, a man who was sitting at the stop tried to strike up a conversation with her.
He attempted to lure her to his house with promises of sweets, they said.
When the girl refused his offer and ran away, he chased her home and tried to grab her hair as she neared the building.
But she managed to get inside and close the door behind her so he could not get in.
“While incidents like this are rare we are very keen to trace this man and would urge anyone who can identify him to come forward," said detective constable Matt Morse, who is leading the investigation.
The suspect is described as a tall, black man, who was wearing dark clothes.
When The Independent asked London's Metropolitan Police about the seven-month delay in releasing the details of the case to the public, a spokeswoman said there was "no specific reason".
“As standard, a media appeal forms only part of the investigation and a number of other enquiries take place before a decision is made to release CCTV to the media," she said. "So in this case other investigative leads will have been looked at before considering a media appeal.”
However, Annmarie Fevrier, an assistant at Brilliant Parents, a London group that provides parenting courses and support said parents should have been "warned" about the incident.
"Things should have been said to schools, to parents, to residents, she said. "I think police should act more quickly."