A SERIES of reports of attempted child abductions have sparked concern among police.
Officers in Seaham have received a growing number of calls during the past fortnight claiming drivers have been trying to lure young children into their cars.
While police today insisted they are investigating each report, they stressed no criminal offence has taken place and there is nothing to suggest any common link between the claims.
Police are urging parents to remain vigilant but also reminding people that no-one has actually been abducted or injured.
Officers have also teamed up with local primary schools to write a letter giving advice to parents and children, which can be found on Seaham police’s Facebook page.
A Durham police spokeswoman said: “We are aware that rumours are circulating in Seaham about incidents of attempted child abduction.
“On Sunday, we received three reports of activity involving cars and their occupants.
“Inquiries are underway and there is no evidence that a criminal offence has taken place or that they are linked.
“No-one has been abducted or injured in any way.
“We would always advise parents to talk to their children about what to do if they are approached by a stranger so that they know how to react if such a situation arises.”
An investigation into an attempted abduction led to an 11-year-old boy admitting exaggerating to police about a masked man trying to lure him into a van.
The schoolboy claimed a driver wearing a balaclava got out of a white van near The Mallard pub in Stockton Road, Seaham, and asked if he wanted a lift home on September 16.
The driver was then alleged to have moved towards the youngster, who pushed his bike towards the stranger and ran off.
Detective Constable Chris Robinson, of Seaham CID, said: “It has now been established there was a minor incident involving the boy, however, he has unfortunately greatly exaggerated what had happened to him.
“It is now clear there was no masked man trying to entice the boy into the van and the incident is not as serious as first feared.
“Incidents of this nature raise the fears of the general public for the safety of their children.
“Whilst it has been established that this incident has not taken place I would still urge people to be on their guard, as they normally would, when speaking to strangers and still to report anything suspicious to the police.”
There has been a string of other alleged attempted child abductions reported across Seaham.
On August 31, two 13-year-old girls were shouted at by two men in a white Renault Megane Sport outside Parkside Community Centre in Heathway.
When the driver of the car asked them to get in the back one of the girls screamed and the car drove off.
Two hours later, a 12-year-old was walking home and was at Northlea Road, near the junction with Durham Street, when a small black car slowed down.
The driver shouted “come here” and asked if she was 13.
She ignored him and continued walking.
All of the girls went home and told their parents, who then contacted police.