Schools warning of snatch danger

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LETTERS have been sent out to the parents of Fylde coast primary schools after children were approached by strangers in three separate, “worrying” incidents.

Parents at Roseacre Primary School were informed of a man approaching children asking them to play football while Ansdell Primary School sent out a warning after a pensioner tried to talk to an 11-year-old girl.

Police are also investigating an incident on Loftos Avenue in South Shore when a man in a black van approached a 12-year-old lad.

Detectives say the incidents are not being linked to the attempted abduction of two-year-old Ellie Gibson, who was grabbed by a man in her back garden on Erdington Road, central Blackpool, last week.

Det Chief Insp Brian Quinn, from Blackpool Police, said: “At this moment we are looking at each individual incident to establish the circumstances and we will deal with them appropriately.

“The message to parents and children, as always, is don’t speak to strangers. We are not connecting these individual cases.”

The first incident happened on Clifton Drive in Ansdell when an 11-year-old girl was spoken to by a man in his 70s or 80s. It is thought he said “come here little girl” to the youngster before she ran off.

An informal note has been sent out to parents of Ansdell Primary School pupils, asking them to remain vigilant.

A school spokesman said: “We feel the fact concerns have been raised by a child reflects our stranger danger work is effective. A lot of work is done around personal safety and this shows how effective this work is.”

On Wednesday, Roseacre pupils were asked to play football by a man.

A text message was sent to parents which stated: “A stranger approached Roseacre children after school last night. Although there is no evidence of any intended harm, please be vigilant.”

Sean Hickey, deputy headteacher at the Stonycroft Avenue school, said: “The pupils were very mature about it, they didn’t engage in conversation or play football with the man. We always have to air on the side of caution and remind people of stranger danger.”

The third incident happened at 4pm on Thursday on Loftos Avenue, South Shore. A man in a black van pulled alongside a 12-year-old boy who was walking along the street with his brother. The boys ignored the driver and he drove off.

Coun Norman Hardy, Hawes Side ward councillor, said: “It’s important for people to take extra care.”

And Leanne Hall, 33, from South Shore, whose six-year-old daughter attends Roseacre, said: “It’s worrying. Everyone’s minds need to be put at rest about what’s happened.”