Police Link Attempted Abductions

Police investigating 3 attempted abductions of young girls and say "Someone knows who this man is." have released a man they've been questioning without charge.

A man from Cranbrook arrested on suspicion of an attempted abduction in Hawkhurst, Kent, has been released without charge.

Det Supt Rob Vinson, from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "Specially trained officers have been questioning the man throughout yesterday evening and today, and we are confident that this man is not the person responsible for the attempted abduction at Hawkhurst, or the other two incidents in Brabourne Lees and Rye, in Sussex.

 "We are still extremely keen to hear from anyone in the community who may be able to help us with our enquiries. We still believe all three are linked and welcome any piece of information, no matter how small, that may assist us in bringing the person responsible to justice.

"We understand that parents and guardians will be worried, particularly with the school holidays. I would advise them to remain vigilant and ensure your children are supervised and well-versed in the potential risks associated in talking to strangers.

"We would like to thank members of the public and media for their assistance in this investigation so far," he added.

All three incidents have taken place in the evening. All of the girls describe the man as white, having a beard or stubble and driving a dark blue car. Two of the girls said the man had a 'squashed' nose. Despite the variations in the descriptions, officers believe the incidents have all involved the same man.

The first incident happened in Hawkhurst at about 8.30pm on Sunday, April 3 2011. A young teenage girl was walking along The Moor, on the village green side of the road past the Eight Bells pub, when she heard a car pull up behind her. She saw a man get out of the car and she carried on walking. She was then grabbed from behind but struggled and the man let her go. She ran to a friend's house while the car left in the direction of Hawkhurst crossroads.

The victim described the man as white, aged between 40 and 50-years-old, around 5ft 9ins tall, overweight, with a beard and a shaved head. He was wearing a checked blue shirt and dark jeans with holes in the knees. The car is described as dark in colour, medium-sized, possibly with four doors. There was a large black and tan dog in the back, possibly a German Shepherd or similar breed.

The second incident happened in Brabourne Lees, Ashford, on April 6 at about 8.30pm. A young girl was cycling along Lees Road when she saw a car stop ahead of her and a man get out. As she passed the man, he grabbed her lower right arm but she pulled away and he let go.

The victim here described the man as white, in his 20s, smelling of cigarettes and scruffy in appearance. He had a squashed nose, a shaved or bald head, and was wearing a navy blue t-shirt and messy jeans with holes and paint on them. His car is described as being an old-style Astra, with scratches on the bodywork. It was dark in colour with a tatty interior.

Detectives are working closely with colleagues in Sussex, where a similar incident took place in Rye on Thursday, March 31. A 14-year-old girl was approached by a man in a dark blue car as she walked along the Kings Avenue, Rye. She was grabbed by her shoulders and then the front of her jacket but she managed to break free and her attacker then fled to his car before driving off.

The suspect is described as being a white man aged between 20 and 30, of large build and with a beard and of large build. He had a button nose, was wearing a black leather jacket and baseball cap and was driving a dark coloured car, possibly blue.

If you have information that will help police investigate the incidents in Kent, please contact officers on 01622 654867. If you have information relevant to the incident in Sussex, contact 0845 60 70 999, quoting Operation Mexico.

Alternatively if you have information and wish to remain anonymous, call CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111