Mothers fear for kids
LUKE and Bailey of Piggabeen don't want to ride there bikes down the road anymore
The once nagged-for freedom is the last thing on the minds of the 11 years olds after a terrifying incident last Wednesday when a man lurked in his car and watched as they innocently played on a creek bed.
“It's just not right that they have to be worried about that stuff out here,” said Luke's mother Linda Nance.
“They're only 11 years olds.”
Luke and Bailey told their parents and police that they saw a man in a white ute approach them and slow down, before stopping.
The man aged in his 50s and dressed in a green T-shirt, black hat and sunglasses, wound down the car window and watched them.
After a while he moved his car to a different position, but continued to leer.
Frightened, the boys hurried to a nearby house, arriving upset and shaken.
“Jake just burst into tears when he got home,” Ms Nance said.
Ms Nance and Bailey's mother Angela Jameson said the incident has been a stark warning to them and other parents in the tight-knit community.
“I've been noticing more people waiting with their kids when they catch the school bus, which never used to happen,” Ms Nance said.
“We moved out here so our kids could play safely.
“Now they can't go for rides down the road on their own because we're just too worried.”
Ms Jameson, a mother of four boys, said this was the first time she had allowed Bailey, her eldest, to go out with just his friend.
“He hasn't wanted to go out at all since,” she said.
“When he came home last Wednesday he was shaking.
“He was worried he would get in trouble for coming home after dark.”
Jake provided police with a facial description of the man, however the sketch did not match anyone on the child protection register.
This incident could be linked to abduction attempts reported across the Tweed last week.
The most alarming instance was near Centaur Public School, where a man tried to lure a child into his car with the promise of toys.
A meeting of Piggabeen parents was held on Wednesday night to discuss establishing a friendly-house program in the valley.
But crime prevention officer Andrew Eppelstun, who attended the night, said sign systems, such as the state's previous Safety House program, were not always successful.
“Safety House is dead and defunct,” Snr Const Eppelstun.
“The reason is because you can't regulate it.
“People move houses and someone else moves in and the sign could still be on the letterbox.”
Snr Const Eppelstun said sexual offenders were more often someone the child knew.
“They don't teach stranger danger anymore.
“The greatest risk to children these days isn't from the unknown assailant.”
Police have stepped up patrols of school zones and are urging parents not to let their children walk home alone.
“The cops aren't everywhere and we don't know everything,” Snr Const Eppelstun said.