Police warn of 'stranger danger'
VILE predators are targeting young children across the Tweed, with police reporting a number of abduction attempts in the past week.
Police issued a warning to the community yesterday after being told of suspicious activity at local schools, including incidents where people have approached children and tried to lure them into cars.
Police named Centaur Primary School in Banora Point and Terranora Public School as targets, but said similar incidents had also occurred in the Piggabeen area.
In one instance, near Centaur Public School, a man tried to lure a child into his car with the promise of toys.
“A male tried to entice a kid into the car by saying: 'If you get in, I'll take you to the toy shop and buy you some toys',” said crime prevention officer Andrew Eppelstun said.
“The male was not further described.
“We've had a number of reports coming in about suspicious behaviour surrounding kids which have occurred over the last week.”
Because the incidents have been widespread, police are asking all parents in the Tweed area to be vigilant.
Snr Const Eppelstun said parents needed to be aware of their children's movements and should not allow them to walk to or from school alone.
He also encouraged them to discuss the potential dangers of talking to or accepting rides from strangers.
“The message needs to be driven home - you don't accept lollies or toys or hop into cars with people you don't know,” he said.
“Parents should also teach children that if something happens, or if they are approached or become suspicious, that they should tell an adult immediately - be it a parent, teacher or shop owner.
“Children who walk to school should not walk alone. Always walk with a parent, friend or older sibling.
“Ideally, young children should be escorted by a responsible adult wherever they go.”
Snr Const Eppelstun said it was also important for children to recognise 'safe' places they could go if they thought they were being followed, such as shops, service stations and police stations.”
Banora Point grandmother Mary Vella walks her six-year-old grandson Anthony Beattie to school most days.
She said he knew not to talk to strangers and once, when his mother was running late and organised another lift, he refused to get in the car because he did not know the woman.
Police have not ruled out a connection between the abduction attempts, but could not provide any further details yesterday.
They have stepped up their patrols at local schools.Anyone with information should call Tweed Heads police on (07) 5536 0999.Be safe
- Talk to your kids about 'stranger danger'
- Teach them to recognise safe places
- Don't let kids walk to or from school alone
- Organise groups to walk together
- Report suspicious behaviour to police on (07) 5536 0999