Police warning as rumours abound in Bury after approaches on children put area on high alert

By Glen Keogh

While investigations continue into reports of a number of suspicious approaches to children in Bury and Radcliffe, police are reminding the community not to be overly alarmed.

Three incidents of suspicious behaviour are believed to be linked, however at least one of a number of further reports have been classed as ‘innocent misunderstanding’.

A man contacted police after seeing an article which reported suspicious behaviour in Ramsbottom on May 9, where a schoolgirl was asked if she wanted a lift.

He said he was the man in question, and had mistaken the girl for a neighbour’s daughter.

Detective Chief Inspector Sara Wallwork said: “We wish to make it clear that having looked into each of the reports, we do not feel there is any reason for the community to be overly alarmed or for families to change their routines, and we have given those who have approached us the same reassurance.

“While we do have a handful of incidents where there appears to have been suspicious behaviour, this appears to have prompted isolated calls by third parties which appear to have heightened anxieties.

“Indeed one of the reports we have dealt with turns out to be an innocent misunderstanding.”

Tensions are running high in the area because of four reported incidents into which inquiries are still ongoing.

On April 25, on Stand Lane, Radcliffe, a man stopped a schoolgirl for directions.

A short time later, he asked her to get in but she refused.

At about 5pm on May 2, a man in a car stopped and asked a girl for directions near Tottington High School.

He then asked the girl whether she wanted to get in, but she refused.

A man slowed down his car on Stand Lane At about 6pm on 3 May 2013 to try and get the attention of a schoolgirl, but she ignored him.

At about 8.35am on 7 May 2013, a man driving a car approached a 12-year-old girl on Eaton Hill Road, Radcliffe.  

DCI Wallwork said she fully understands the concerns that parents feel by these issues.

“The police always values information that comes in from members of the public, and we work together to keep our communities safe,” she added.

“We recognise the invaluable assistance that social media can bring, however we equally accept that rumour and speculation are unhelpful when dealing with issues as emotive as this.”

Anyone with any concerns or with any information is asked to call police on 101.

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