Fareham Police Investigate More 'Suspicious Incidents'
Police in Fareham are investigating further reports of a man in a white van offering lifts to children.
Detectives are focusing on a report from Tuesday, May 7 when a 9-year-old girl has said she was approached by two men in Finisterre Close, Hill Head near Stubbington. The girl was not harmed.
Investigating officer Detective Inspector Gary Hill said:
"What we know for certain so far is that a girl was walking in the Stubbington area between 8.30pm and 9pm on Tuesday evening. She was wearing pink checked pyjama trousers and a dark-coloured top.
"We believe this girl would have been seen by other people in the area around this time, particularly one witness, who was described as a woman walking a Dalmatian dog in the area of Seafield Park.
"This woman is not suspected of any crime or wrongdoing. She could be a crucial witness to the circumstances surrounding how and why this nine-year-old girl was approached on Tuesday evening.
"I'd like to thank the girl and her family for their continued co-operation in upsetting circumstances.
"We recognise that this report is prompting natural and understandable concern, which has led to some speculation in the community.
"This case is not being treated as an attempted abduction by police, and there is no evidence at this time to confirm a criminal motive.
"Nevertheless, we are taking this report seriously as it follows two similar incidents recently of children being approached by people, some of whom were said to be driving white vans. No children were threatened or harmed."
On Thursday, May 2, 2013, an 11-year-old boy was walking along Mays Lane towards St. Mary's Road between 4pm and 4.30pm. A man he did not know, who was driving a white van, stopped and asked if the boy wanted a lift. The boy turned down the offer, and the motorist drove away. The boy was not threatened and there was no physical contact between them.
Just before 6pm on Sunday, May 5, 2013, a 15-year-old girl was offered a lift by a man driving a white van on Fareham Road near the bus depot and Hoeford pub. The girl declined the offer and the motorist drove away. The girl was not threatened and there was no physical contact between them.
At 4.30pm on Tuesday, May 7, 2013, a man was seen driving a white van in The Glebe in Stubbington. A group of school girls were walking nearby. The girls were not approached or spoken to by the man.
At 8.30am on Wednesday, May 8, 2013, a man in a van stopped on Northways in Stubbington to offer a 14-year-old girl and her brother a lift, which was declined. They were not threatened and there was no physical contact between them.
Detective Inspector Hill added:
"There is no confirmed connection between these incidents as different descriptions and accounts have been given to police so far. We are speaking with people known to drive vans in the area regularly to explore the possibility of innocent explanations for these events.
"I am also appealing for anyone who drives a van to contact us if they were involved in any conversations, no matter how brief, with children they did not know in the Fareham area over the past week.
"Officers and PCSOs from our Safer Neighbourhoods teams have been making more routine visits to schools in the area to reassure communities, speak with parents, children and teachers, and provide advice.
"Until all the facts are established, we are asking the public to remain alert, but not alarmed; advising parents and schools to remind their children of the stranger danger message.
"We're grateful to members of the public for their awareness and vigilance in reporting information promptly.
"However, be cautious when discussing and responding to rumours. Please contact police directly with any information."
Police insist no criminal motives or offences have been confirmed at this time.
Anyone with information is asked to contact CID at Fareham Police Station by phoning 101. Mini-com users can phone 01962 875000. Alternatively, call the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111 if you wish to remain anonymous.