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Detectives in Guildford are appealing for information following an incident in a Guildford park in which a man allegedly grabbed a young child’s hand and encouraged the youngster to go with him.
The suspicious activity happened at Stoughton Recreation Ground on Sunday morning (24 June) sometime between 9.20am and 9.35am, when the seven-year-old boy was in the park to watch a football tournament.
The youngster was with his mother at the Fentum Road venue and left her side to get a coat from the family car, which was parked just metres away. As he went to the vehicle, a man approached him and got hold of his hand, asking the child to go with him. The victim pulled his hand away, replied he was not going with the stranger and ran back to his mother.
The suspect is described as a thin white man with a skinhead haircut. He was wearing an England shirt and shorts.
Detective Constable David Pellatt investigating said: “There were hundreds of people at the park on Sunday morning because a football tournament was taking place and I am hoping some of them may be able to provide me with information about this worrying incident. Whilst it was a busy event, maybe the suspect was noticeable because he was making his way out of the park. If you did see anything which might help officers locate this individual please contact me directly.”
Neighbourhood Sergeant Steve Hill is advising parents to be on their guard and to take reasonable measures to safeguard their children. He said: “This is an unusual incident in the town, Guildford is very safe and as such, I would like to remind parents to keep a close eye on their youngsters when they are out and about. The long school summer holidays are nearly upon us and it is a good time to ensure you know where your children are, who they are with and what they are up to. Being vigilant doesn’t cost anything and is worth a fortune in peace of mind for families.”
Anyone who has any information relating to the incident is asked to contact Surrey Police on 101 quoting reference GD/12/5656. Alternatively call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.