Police probe suspicious approach to teenage girl

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Police are investigating reports of a suspicious approach to a child in the Claudy area of Co Derry.

Police say the latest incident - the third report of a suspicious approach to a child in the Derry area in recent weeks - happened last night (August 21).

“At around 6.15pm, a 14 yr-old girl was waiting for her friends on the Teenaght Road when a man in a small white caddy van was driving past and stopped the vehicle,” a PSNI spokeswoman says.

“He got out of the van and grabbed the girls arm. She fell backwards. The man then got back into the van and drove off in the direction of Learmount Road. The van is believed to have tinted rear windows.”

The man is described as being aged in his fifties, around 5ft 10” tall, heavy to fat build and bald.

He was wearing a black coloured zip-up jacket, possibly a fleece and brown suede type jeans.

The spokeswoman says in the past two weeks, police have received two other similar reports where suspicious approaches were made to children in Derry.

“Police do not believe these three incidents are linked however they are keeping an open mind. In each case, very different descriptions of the males involved were reported,” she says.

“Police would like to reassure the community that each report is being thoroughly investigated to ensure the highest level of enquiries are being carried out.”

The spokeswoman added:” It is important not to alarm the community as it is not known what the adults’ intentions were, however the young people reacted in the correct manner and the incidents were reported to police.

“Police would like to remind people that these type of incidents in Northern Ireland are rare. However, we still need parents and children to be vigilant and report anything they deem to be suspicious to the Police.”

Police are asking anyone who may have seen the van in the Claudy or Park area between 6pm and 7pm last night and may be able to help police identify the man to contact Strand Road station on 0845 600 8000 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.