Gloucester police issue caution over kidnap 'rumours'

Parents in Gloucester are being urged to be wary of speculation amid rumours about abduction attempts near schools.

Police said a number of people had posted comments on social media websites about a suspicious couple trying to lure children into their car.

One mother said a man and a woman in "a black BMW was seen offering sweets" to a child and asked if he wanted to play.

But officers said there had only been one confirmed suspicious incident and no evidence of attempted abductions.

'Stranger danger'

Ch Insp Neil Smith of Gloucester Police, said: "We have had one report of a boy being approached by a couple in a car [in Longlevens] and being offered sweets.

"The boy ignored the couple and they drove off. While suspicious, there is absolutely no evidence they were trying to abduct him.

"Since then we have had a handful of people calling us, prompted by the rumours they have heard or read about."

He added that none of them had been first hand reports of children being approached and while it was good that people were being alert, he did not want the community to be "paralysed with fear."

John Coles, headmaster of Heron Primary School, said: "We were aware of the verified incident in Longlevens on Friday and sent a message out to parents reaffirming the stranger danger message and we've done some talks in school.

"It's a case of balancing the need to raise awareness and being realistic about what is a very, very rare incident."

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