Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Concern after child abduction attempt

Councillor Alex Easton

Three schools have sent out letters warning local parents to be vigilant following the attempted abduction of two children in Bangor recently.

The children, aged seven and four and who attend Ballymagee Primary School, were playing in the Bexley Park area on Tuesday, September 8, when a car containing two men and two women stopped close by.

One person from the group asked the children to get into the vehicle, but when they refused he verbally abused them before the car sped off.

Ballymagee, Kilmaine and Ballyholme primary schools all sent out letters to parents asking that children take extra care when travelling to and from school.

No one was available for comment from Ballymagee Primary School.

But Principal David Hewitt from Ballyholme Primary School said that although the incident did not take place near his school he felt it important to issue guidance to children and parents.

A statement from the police confirmed that two men, aged 18 and 17, were arrested in connection with the incident.

“Sometime between 5.15pm and 5.40pm, a seven-year-old boy and his four-year-old sister were playing in the area when a silver car, with two males and two females on board, stopped,” the statement said.

“One of the males asked the children to get into the car and, when the children refused, swore at them. These persons then made off in a silver car.”

Two people have been arrested by police and released on bail pending further enquiries following the incident.

Police say the investigation into the attempted abduction is ongoing and asked for anyone with information to contact them on 0845 600 8000.

North Down councillor Alex Easton said he had been in discussion with senior police following the incident.

“I have had discussions with senior police given the critical nature of this incident,” Mr Easton said.

“Thank God these primary school children did not get into the car, and while they were victimised with abusive language this incident potentially could have been so much worse.

“I welcome the fact that arrests have been made and I have full confidence in the police to address this robustly and with the necessary urgency.

“Clearly no stone must be left unturned with every essential resource brought to bear on those who target the must vulnerable in our society.

“While we do not want to generate unnecessary panic it is vital, given this incident occurred between 5pm and 6pm, that parents follow the advice timely issued by their schools, such as the procedures in the stranger danger scheme.”

Mr Easton said police would have the “unequivocal support of this community” as they seek to bring those responsible to the Courts for this “despicable” crime.

The parents whose children were approached did not wish to comment on the incident.

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