Police investigate reports of attempted child abductions

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Whitmore RoadImage source, Google
Image caption,
A man in a black van asked a schoolboy if he wanted a lift as he walked long Whitmore Road in Beckenham, police say

A police investigation has been launched after four reported incidents of attempted child abduction in south east London.

On 30 April, between 16:00 and 16:30 BST, an 11-year-old schoolboy was approached by a man in a black van in Whitmore Road, Beckenham, police said.

Within the same timeframe, an eight-year-old boy was reportedly approached in the wooded area of Kelsey Park.

A third boy told school staff he had been followed by a man on Wednesday.

The Met received a fourth report of a perceived attempted abduction of a young girl in The Glades shopping centre, in Bromley on Friday.

Two males were said to have been walking behind the child when one seemingly went to grab the girl's hand - which was raised in the air - before walking off, the force said.

Police do not believe the incidents are linked.

No children were abducted or harmed in any of the four reported incidents.

Supt Andy Brittain, said: "I am aware of varying reports online both in the news and on social media and I fully understand the concerns of parents in light of these reports.

'Heightened police presence'

"I would encourage the public to remain vigilant, but not to be unduly alarmed. Child kidnappings or abductions are, thankfully, incredibly rare, but we are not complacent.

"In order to provide reassurance to the community we have heightened our visible presence in areas where youngsters may gather and I urge anyone who feels worried or concerned to approach my officers.

"In addition, please be assured that if we have reason to believe that there is a specific danger we will make sure that our communities are fully aware immediately.

"I would strongly encourage members of the public to approach our officers if they have any concerns or have any information that could prove to be beneficial to our investigations."

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