FEAR has once again been struck in to the hearts of Solihull parents following another ‘incident’ in which two groups of young teenage girls were followed by a car in Knowle last Tuesday (February 3).
The car – an ‘old-style’ Peugeot – was being driven by a man in his late 20s or early 30s who followed two separate groups of 13-year-olds before trying to engage them in conversation.
All of the girls, who have been rigorously drilled in the Stranger Danger message by Arden School, followed the correct procedures and ignored the man, left the scene and immediately reported it to teachers and in turn the police.
Letters were sent out to pupils and parents the same day warning them of the incident and to remain vigilant.
The latest approach takes the total number of similar incidents and attempted abductions across the borough to nine since just January last year.
The first case was on January 24, 2014 when a man tried to lure a ten-year-old girl in to his car in Slater Road, Dorridge.
This was followed on March 10 when a seven-year-old girl was asked to get in to a strange man’s car on Widney Manor Road, Solihull.
On March 26 two Widney Junior School girls were approached by an elderly man and just 24 hours later on March 27 two girls from Lode Heath School were subject to ‘sexually suggestive comment’ from a stranger.
On May 12 a 13-year-old schoolgirl was walking to school in Chelveston Crescent, Hillfield when she was approached by a man who grabbed hold of her blazer before she ran off.
Then on September 20 a a ten-year-old boy was asked to get into a man’s ‘shiny white’ car on Lady Byron Lane in Knowle while he was posting letters at the post box.
The last incident prior to the Knowle approach happened on November 6 as a schoolgirl was walking to school along Clinton Road, Shirley just before 8am.
The innocent youngster was approached as she made her way to Alderbrook School by a man who tried to lure her into a car.
Terrified, she managed to escape the attacker and ran off to tell her parents who quickly called the police.
Observer editor Chris Willmott spoke to concerned parents about the latest incident.
None of them wished to be named but their message was one of fear for their children.
“It’s terrifying and the fact it keeps on happening is even more scary,” said one anxious mum.
“Thamkfully nobody has been hurt or actually kidnapped, but the fact there are people out there approaching our kids makes me feel sick.”
Another concerned dad said: “What kind of sicko does this?
“We shouldn’t have to live in a world where we can’t let our children walk to school for fear of them being bothered or worse by some weirdo.
“I’m thinking about signing my daughter up for martial arts classes so she can defend herself.”
Schools and police have reiterated the Stanger Danger message to borough youngsters:
* Never go off on your own with a stranger, take things from them or get in a car with them
* Make sure your parents know where you are
* If someone scares you or makes you feel uncomfortable, go somewhere safe – this could be your home, your school or a police station
* Remember to tell someone what has happened straight away
* Try and walk to and from school with a friend
Anyone approached by a stanger should find the quickest way to safety and call the police on 999 immediately.