Police deluged by calls in attempted abduction probe

editorial image

DETECTIVES investigating the attempted abduction of two children say they have received dozens of calls offering information.

It comes after officers arrested a second man in connection with the allegations on Friday night.

The 43-year-old, from Hastings in East Sussex, has been bailed until February pending further enquiries.

Someone tried to grab a 12-year-old girl from a path between Purbrook Way and Middle Park Way in Leigh Park at 1.50pm on Tuesday.

Then in a second incident at 8.30am on Wednesday in Southleigh Road, Emsworth, a man tried to grab an 11-year-old boy.

Police first arrested a 49-year-old Havant man but after questioning he was freed with no further action to be taken.

Detective Inspector Jeff Huggett said: ‘The response from the community this week has been tremendous.

‘Police have received at least 45 calls from the public and we have spoken to more than 40 motorists following a road 
block of Southleigh Road.

‘However the evidence so far has not led to a charge at this time.

‘I would remind people not to reach premature judgements about this arrest, which is one of many leads being followed.’

Detectives are also renewing 
their appeal for motorists who were nearby at the time of the incident to come forward and help with the investigation.

They particularly want to speak to the drivers of a gold-coloured Mini-style car and a blue Vauxhall, who were in Southleigh Road at around 8.30am on Wednesday and may be vital witnesses.

Det Insp Huggett added: ‘This appeal extends to people living in Sussex as well as Hampshire. It is possible these motorists were commuters.

‘The 11-year-old victim told police these drivers sounded their horns at him when he ran into traffic to get away from his attempted abductor.

‘You may not have realised an abduction had been attempted moments before a boy ran in front of your car.

‘You are not suspected of any crimes, but we need to know what else you saw.

‘Detectives are determined to solve this case and bring the offender to justice with the support of witnesses.’

A team of officers and staff worked extra shifts over the weekend to continue exploring lines of enquiry.

Det Insp Huggett praised the victims and their families for their co-operation throughout the investigation.

‘I would like to express my thanks to both children and families after such an upsetting experience,’ he said.

Anyone with information should call CID at Waterlooville Police Station on 101, quoting Operation Orris.

You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.