Concern after town abduction attempt

LOCAL schools have moved to inform parents after a man attempted to abduct a seven-year-old child as she stood by her mother in the street.

Parents have voiced concerns after a letter was sent from one of the local primary schools informing them that Child Protection Procedures would be reviewed “in light of a recent abduction attempt in Banbridge”.

When contacted by the Leader police confirmed that a man, described as being aged between 45 and 50, had approached the young girl in Scarva Street three weeks ago, held out his hand and asked the girl to come with him.

The girl was standing near her mother at the time and fortunately escaped the incident unharmed.

Police said they do not have a description of the man and were told of the incident for information only.

But one local parent contacted the Leader to say she had been left worried by news of the incident.

A letter sent to parents of pupils at Bridge Primary School said their school gates would now open only at a specified time for parents to collect their children each day.

The letter said the new arrangements were in order to reinforce “the duty of care to all our pupils to ensure their wellbeing while in school”.

The letter went on to that any adult “lingering unduly in the school grounds will be approached to ascertain their reason for being there”.

School principal Teresa Devlin said, “We are trying to ensure to the best of our ability the safety of our children.”

A police spokeswoman said, “Police in Banbridge treat the safety of the public, and particularly children, with the highest priority.

“Police work continually with children to make them aware of their own safety and officers from Banbridge Neighbourhood Policing Team visit local schools and youth clubs regularly to reinforce ‘keep safe’ messages.”

Anyone interested in safety talks from police can contact the neighbourhood team on 0845 600 8000.