Friday, 22 January 2021

Schools on alert over stranger

PARENTS have been warned to beware after two girls making their way to school were followed by a stranger in a car.

A Trinity Primary School pupil was stopped by a man driving a white car in Vicarage Road at about 9am on Monday. Police said he made inappropriate comments to the girl and then followed her.

At 8.20am today (Thursday) a year 7 pupil at Gillotts School in Henley was approached, again by a white car. The driver, who wore a hat and ski mask, asked if she wanted a lift and the girl fled.

The driver then performed a U-turn and left the scene. He is described as having no discernible accent and his vehicle had three doors with "Car Club" written on the sides.

Officers carried out patrols in the area on Monday afternoon following the first incident.

Trinity headteacher Beatriz Melero said the girl reported the incident to staff immediately and it was then reported to the police and Oxfordshire County Council, the education authority.

She also called all the headteachers in Henley to warn them and they received an email alert from the council.

In a message to parents, Ms Melero said: “In order to keep all our children safe, we do not want year 6 children walking home by themselves.

“Therefore, can all the year 6 children be picked up by parents and carers whenever possible. If not, please can you inform us of any alternative arrangements.”

Similar reports were made by female students at Gillotts School in October and pupils were warned not to travel to school alone. There were two reports of a driver in a white van approaching girls after school.

Headteacher Catharine Darnton said this week: “We will be reminding all students not to walk alone and not to respond to, or go with, strangers.”

A spokesman for Thames Valley Police said: “We would advise parents to make sure that their children are aware of what they should do if they are approached by someone who makes them feel unsafe or uncomfortable and remind them of the best way to stay safe.

“We also advise that incidents such as these are reported to us online or by calling 101.”

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