Belfast Telegraph

Concerns raised about child abduction bids in east Belfast

The wife of an Ulster rugby star has said it is outrageous that parents’ fears are not being taken seriously after after a series of kidnap bids in east Belfast.

The PSNI are investigating at least four cases of child approaches and attempted abductions in the past two weeks, in which primary school age children, both boys and girls, have been targeted. They include incidents at Euston Street, Lord Street and Clarawood Park.

One woman, who did not want to be identified, told the Belfast Telegraph an attempt to lure her nine-year-old relative into a car at Clarawood Park on Wednesday morning has struck fear among families in the area.

“We are all very worried,” she said.

“A silver car pulled up in front of him when he was on his bicycle and a man tried to get him to get into the car by promising him sweets.

“He had been taught stranger danger so ran to school, as it was closer than the house.

“My own daughter goes to a school in the area and they haven’t had anyone talk to them.”

Ulster rugby star Paddy Wallace and his wife Tina are deeply concerned about these frightening developments.

Mrs Wallace said more needs to be done to raise awareness among parents and children.

“We are concerned this activity seems organised and the fear is they won’t stop until they get someone,” she said.

“It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. This isn’t rumour, over-reaction or silliness. I think it is outrageous this isn’t being taken more seriously.

“Things are being totally underplayed. No detailed descriptions have been released by the police and parents aren’t getting the information they need.

“My son’s school haven’t mentioned anything and from speaking to parents with children at different nursery and primary schools, the general consensus is they don’t feel informed.”

A spokesman for the PSNI said: “Following a number of |suspicious incidents in the east Belfast area over recent days police would like to reassure local people that each report will be thoroughly and fully investigated.

“Designated schools liaison |officers have already visited all primary schools in the local area giving advice and information to pupils and teachers and urging vigilance.

“Neighbourhood and Community Safety officers have also been carrying out extra patrols over recent days and this will continue.”

The police are appealing for anyone with information to contact them on 0845 600 8000 or anonymously via the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.

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