Police appeal after children ‘inappropriately touched’ by man in Potters Bar

PUBLISHED: 12:26 10 November 2015 | UPDATED: 16:47 10 November 2015

Police are appealing to members of the public for information after a series of incidents in which children have been approached by a man in Potters Bar

Police are appealing to members of the public for information after a series of incidents in which children have been approached by a man in Potters Bar

Archant

Police are appealing for information after children have been approached and “inappropriately touched” by a man in Potters Bar.

Personal safety advice

Police have issued the following personal safety advice:

* When out and about, walk with a friend and keep a mobile phone handy but hidden. But don’t use your mobile while walking around on the street.

* In an emergency, always dial 999. An emergency is when there is danger of injury to a person or damage to property. If you see a crime in progress, you must always dial 999 and ask for the police.

* If someone grabs your bag, let it go. Remember your safety is more important than property.

* When it is dark, try to keep to well-lit, busy roads and avoid taking short-cuts or routes through parks, alleys or car parks. Be aware of what is going on around you.

* If you think someone is following you, go to the nearest place which is well-lit or busy, for example a shop or petrol station and ask for help.

Officers are currently investigating a series of incidents in the town, which are now being linked.

On Monday, October 19, a 10-year-old girl was approached in Santers Lane at around 4.30pm.

A man walked past the girl before turning back and walking past her again, at which point he grabbed her bag.

She managed to throw a drink in his face and run off.

The man did not touch the girl.

Last Tuesday (November 3) at around 5.30pm, two 11-year-old boys were walking along The Shrublands when, as they got to the alleyway that leads to Elmfield Close, they were approached by a man from behind.

He pushed one of the boys to the floor inside the alley and searched him before taking his rucksack, which had the victim’s phone in it.

The victim then ran away and joined the other boy, who had also run off.

Following further inquiries into this incident, it has now been established the suspect touched the victim inappropriately.

Last night (Monday, November 9) at 5pm, the suspect, who was on a bike, approached a group of girls aged 11 in Oakmere Park.

He told them he was investigating a report from police about a theft of alcohol and he needed to search them, and if they didn’t allow him he would call the police.

He then touched the girls inappropriately over their clothing.

There was a boy with them and the suspect only checked his pockets.

Detective Inspector Matt Phillips said: “We fully appreciate people, particularly children and their parents, may be concerned about this series of incidents and I would like to reassure you we are doing all we can to locate the suspect.”

The suspect is described as a white man aged in his mid to late 20s with short dark curly hair.

Last night (Monday, November 9) he was wearing a dark blue or black Puffa jacket, blue jeans with 92.COM on the left leg.

He was riding a black pedal cycle.

DI Phillips added: “We have increased patrols of both officers in high-visibility and plain clothes in the area.

“We are also working with local schools to offer reassurance and advice.

“Whilst we do have a number of lines of inquiry, I would urge members of the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity.

“The description of him is relatively distinctive, so please do call police if you can help to identify the man or if you believe you see him.

“I would also like to remind children police officers would always carry a warrant card and a radio and would never ask a member of the public to search a child.”

Anyone who can assist is asked to contact the Herts Police non-emergency number 101, quoting crime reference number J3/15/1206.

Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or through the independent crime-fighting charity’s anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org

No personal details are taken, information cannot be traced or recorded and you will not go to court.


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