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VIGILANCE WARNING TO KIDS AFTER "ABDUCTION" THREAT

09-02-2010

Pupils at the King Edward’s Foundation schools in Birmingham are being urged to be vigilant following a spate of reported abduction attempts - and The Stirrer understands that youngsters elsewhere in the city have also been targets.

In Handsworth alone, children waiting at bus stops were approached seven times in the two weeks from January 13.

Parents at Kings Edwards High in Edgbaston were recently sent a circular from the school, warning them that their children at their partner – and those at Kings Edwards Five Ways in Edgbaston - were at risk.

It said:

Dear parents,

Local police have contacted us today about some attempted abductions of children from the King Edward's Foundation Schools. Girls and boys en route home from school have been targeted by a white overweight male and a white female. Sometimes they are together and at other times they work alone. The female pretends to be a teacher and they have told children that their parents have asked them to give them a lift home.

Two girls from King Edward's High School for Girls [in Edgbaston] have been approached and this afternoon another attempt has been reported at King Edward's Fiveways Schoo [in Handsworth]..

This is clearly an extremely serious matter and we will be talking about it to all pupils on Thursday. You will of course wish to talk to your son. The advice is:

a) Don't accept a lift from a stranger, or agree to go anywhere with a stranger.
b) If they are approached, pupils are asked to report it straight away. The police and the school would wish to know of any incident as soon as possible.

The school's training for boys about their journey to school is based on the advice of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, and you may wish to review this advice with your son.

Police say there has also been an incident close to King Edward’s Camp Hill in Kings Heath.

We’ve also been told independently that a female pupil was recently the victim of a similar abduction attempt at Kings Norton Girls School, and there was similar incident – this time involving a male pupil – at a Great Barr school – although there’s no evidence that these incidents are related either to each other or the King Edwards cases.

West Midlands Police are urging youngsters and parents to remember the ‘stranger danger’ message, but say that at no time have any children been threatened or had force used against them

Some reports involved pupils being offered a lift in a car while on other occasions a man and woman have engaged the children in conversation.

PC Sara Turton, of the Safer Travel Police Team, said: “On each occasion, pupils have been approached as they were making their way to school.

“Often they have been waiting at bus stops, when a car has stopped and a man or woman has offered them a lift.”

On a number of occasions the children have described a white man and woman, but in one of the incidents the man is described as Asian.

Detectives are unsure whether all the reports are connected.

PC Turton said: “Whilst this is of concern to us, we have been careful not to unduly alarm parents and children in the area.

“At no time has a child been harmed, or been threatened and if the pupil has declined the offer of a lift, the strangers have simply driven off. As a result this is being treated as suspicious behaviour rather than attempted abduction.

“But it is imperative that all pupils are aware not to accept lifts off strangers, no matter how convincing the story they are given and if they are approached, they should report it to police and their school immediately.”

The descriptions of the people involved are a white overweight man, in his mid to late 40s, with grey wavy hair and 'John Lennon' style round glasses.

He was joined by a white woman, who is middle aged, with bobbed hair, with dark blonde or red hair, around 5ft 6in tall.

The other male reported in one incident was an Asian man, in his mid-30s and driving a silver Audi S4 car.

Anyone with concerns, or further information should contact PC Turton on 0845 113 5000.

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