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More reports of children approached by strangers

Police say youngsters have done the right thing

Police are currently investigating reports of school children being approached on their way to school in Exeter.

One reported incident involved an 11-year-old girl being approached by two men in a small white van, at 8am between Cowick Lane and St Hill Close, whilst walking to school on Wednesday 16 January.

Sector Inspector Simon Arliss said: “We have also recently received other reports where children have felt that they have been followed, approached or simply felt uneasy on their walk to school for a range of reasons. On each occasion the child has done the correct thing; they didn’t stop and immediately told a teacher at school about the matter, who in turn have contacted the police.

“Although a number of these reports are believed to be due to heightened awareness following Wednesday’s incident, I would continue to encourage all matters to be reported to police; we will listen and take each report seriously.

“Currently, we have no incidents where a child has been grabbed or harmed; all have made their way safely to school where these matters have then been reported.

“Public safety is our primary concern and we would encourage members of the public to continue to report suspicious incidents to police, but we must stress that at this time there does not appear be an increased risk to your children, nor any new matters that are causing us concern from a policing point of view. But to help with reassurance, we have increased officer patrols across Exeter and officers will be visible in school areas at the relevant times of day.

“What I would ask of the public reporting these incidents is, where possible, to make a note of any specific information. Ideally we’re looking for specific time frames, vehicle registration numbers and person descriptions, as this information will aid our investigations.”

Further safety advice can be found on our website -


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