Men offering kids sweets in Welwyn Garden City

06:25 26 March 2012

Police

Police

Archant

A WHITE van has been seen driving around outside schools, raising concerns of teachers, students and parents.

Police advice

*Don’t speak to strangers

*Stay alert

*Stick to busy and well-lit areas

*Avoid short cuts through quiet, unlit, secluded or wooded areas and alleyways

*Try to keep with friends rather than walk alone

*Make sure someone knows where you are going and tell them when you’ve arrived

*If you believe someone is following you, go to the nearest busy place

*Take a mobile phone with you if you have one

Two 14-year-old girls were offered sweets by two men in a van on Thursday, March 8, in Wheatley Road in WGC.

They refused the sweets and after returning home called the police.

Officers, concerned rumours were getting out of hand, confirmed what had happened, adding it was being treated as a suspicious incident, and not an attempted abduction.

Word had spread among parents on Facebook, and on Friday, March 16 one concerned mother from WGC urged friends to pass the message around.

She said: “There is a man going around in a white van trying to get kids by offering them sweets.

“He approached a young girl today near Shoplands and has been seen near Sir Fred’s School and Woodhall area.”

However, the police were unable to confirm if any of these sightings were confirmed.

Monk’s Walk School deputy headteacher Noel Kelly said after his pupils were told of an incident reported by another school, some of his students spoke out about a similar event, a week later on Thursday, March 15.

He said: “They had seen a white van near the school acting suspiciously, it was driving past very slowly.

“We reported it to police and sent a letter to parents.

“It’s a real tightrope because girls being girls now see a van and think there’s a killer in it; they interpret it in a melodramatic way.

“But they may be right and we can’t afford to take the risk.”

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