Schools on alert as child snatchers stalk streets

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 8, 2010

Police have appealed for calm after reports of four attempts to snatch school children in south Manchester.

North Cheshire Jewish Primary school, in Cheadle, received a warning along with other Stockport schools after four attempted abductions were reported to police in two weeks.

Three children had to break free after being grabbed by a lone man in several locations across the borough. Two of the incidents occurred last week as they went home from primary schools in Hazel Grove and Brinnington Park, a few miles from the Cheadle Jewish school.

Parents with children at North Cheshire Jewish Primary say the incidents have highlighted their concern about letting their children out alone. Louise Tyler, who lives nearby in Cheadle, says she feels the school's internal security does not extend to the streets for her nine-year-old daughter.

Mrs Tyler said: "We will all be extra vigilant until it's resolved. My sister lives down the road from my house and I let [my daughter] run down the road to take something. That will stop."

Another mother who lives behind the school says things will not change for her eight-year-old son, who walks to the school gate within her sight. She said: "You've got to have a little bit of letting go, but you've got to be sensible. I just wouldn't let him walk down a street on his own."

The CST are urging parents to stay alert but calm. Spokesman Mark Gardner said: "We call on parents and teachers to keep their wits about them - not to panic but to be alert to what is going on until we hear otherwise."

North Cheshire Jewish Primary head, Jackie Savage, said: "Stockport local authority keeps us informed on a daily basis if there are any issues surrounding such events. At that point we make decisions whether to inform our parents."

Police were first alerted to an abduction attempt on June 26, when a man grabbed a seven-year-old girl on a street in Romiley, a suburban area of Stockport in south east Manchester. She managed to escape.

A man in a silver BMW later grabbed an eight-year-old boy and asked him whether he wanted to buy a Nintendo DS console. The boy
wriggled free. Two days later, a man approached a 10-year-old girl and asked her whether she wanted to see some puppies. The girl ran off.

In the latest incident, a man approached a seven-year-old boy and asked if he wanted some sweets. The boy tried to run away but the man briefly grabbed him.

A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said the varying descriptions of the suspect suggested the incidents were not the work of the same man.

Last updated: 1:39pm, July 8 2010