Belfast Telegraph

Monday 24 November 2014

Motorist snatch bid on girls in Derry

Youth workers in Londonderry were today stepping up security after a man tried to snatch two young girls - aged 10 and 13 - in separate incidents.

A youth leader said one of the girls, who was approached by a man who tried to entice her into his car, will "never forget his face".

The ten-year-old was one of two youngsters targeted by the motorist in the city's Fountain estate last night.

In the first incident, police said that a 13-year-old was walking along Horace Street at around 8.10pm when a man driving a dark blue or navy Volkswagen Golf stopped and asked her if she "wanted to go for a spin" .

The man then exited the car and tried to block the teenager's path. When she resisted, he drove the wrong way down Horace Street.

At around 8.20pm, a 10-year- old was walking along Wapping Lane when a dark-coloured car stopped beside her and the driver asked her to "come for a spin".

When she ran off, the car again drove the wrong way down Wapping Lane.

The PSNI said today that they believe that the same individual was responsible for both incidents and have urged parents to be vigilant.

The ten-year-old girl ran straight to the Cathedral Youth Club in the Fountain following her ordeal.

Club leader Jeanette Warke said today that the child was "very distressed".

"She came straight here afterwards and she was very shaken," she said.

"She had been taking pictures of the school for a project when this man drove up to her and asked 'what's happening?' and then he asked her to 'come for a spin'.

"We rang the police immediately and they were already doing something because of the first incident, which we at that time knew nothing about.

"The wee girl gave a good description - she said she will never forget his face. Luckily one of our youth leaders was also coming up Wapping Lane shortly afterwards and met this man coming the wrong way and had to stop his car, he got a really good look at him and also gave a good description, which matched the wee girl's.

"She was very distressed but hopefully the police will be able to catch this boy."

Mrs Warke said that she would be beefing up safety measures in the aftermath of the incidents.

"I will be sending letters out to all parents and making sure that all the children are collected from the club at 9pm or we will leave them to their doors.

"We have enough going on in the Fountain without perverts coming in as well. I was always more worried about things like stone-throwing, but maybe there are more serious things we could be worrying about now."

Community worker William Temple said that the area is "well covered" by CCTV and he hopes that the cameras will be able to identify the culprit.

He added that local people are "alarmed" by the news that a would-be abductor was operating in the area.

Police said the motorist was in his late 20s or early 30s, around 6ft tall, with dark hair and stubble and have asked anyone who has any information to contact them.

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