As most Croydon schools prepare for the return after half-term this week, head teachers and police have issued warnings to parents to exercise caution after reports of at least two attempts to snatch young children in bungled kidnap attempts.
In one incident, a man was said to have tried to go on to school premises, while separately, another 11-year-old was targeted on Firs Road as she walked to Hayes Primary School in the morning.
In a letter to parents, head teacher Caroline Byers, of Roke Primary School in Kenley, urged parents them to be vigilant with their children walking to and from school.
She wrote: “A Year Six child at The Hayes was approached and grabbed by an Asian man. He was aged about 30 years and wearing a black track suit. Fortunately the girl had the presence of mind to kick the man, scream and run away. The man was then picked up by a driver in a dirty white car.”
DCI Pete Thomas, of Croydon CID, said: “My officers are still working to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident. Rest assured that we take this type of allegation very seriously.
“We would ask parents and carers to continue to be vigilant.”
Hayes head teacher David Wilcox said the school was working with police and that pupil safety was of the utmost importance to staff.
The incidents in the past week are not believed to be connected with previous reports of an attempted abduction of an older teenaged girl in Warlingham last month.
□ Meanwhile, Croydon police have issued appeals for help to find two missing, young teenaged girls.
Read more about the search for Nakeama Walsh, 14, who was last seen at her home address in Upper Norwood at 8.30pm on May 10, by clicking here.
For details of the search for Thelma Gbeneyei, 13, who was last seen on Monday, May 24, at about 4.45pm when she left her home in Thornton Heath, click here.