Beyton: Parents’ warning after 9-year-old daughter is offered a lift from a stranger

A WORRIED parent has today called on people to be on the alert after their daughter was asked if she wanted a lift in a man’s car.

The nine-year-old was so shocked that she told her parents that she thought she was “going to be the next April Jones.

The incident, which took place just before 6pm, on Friday, was reported to police who are now carrying out an investigation.

She was waiting for some friends, standing in an alcove at the Bury Road crossroad junction, close to the White Horse pub, when the dark blue car – similar to a Honda Accord – travelling from the Hessett direction pulled up at the junction.

A man driving the vehicle wound down the window and asked her if she was OK. The girl said she was and that she was waiting for some friends. The man asked if she wanted a lift anywhere and she said “No” and the man then left.

Police have spoken to the girl again this afternoon and officers now believe there may be an innocent explanation for the incident, but are appealing for the driver involved to come forward.

Detective Inspector David Giles said; “It is possible that the driver may just have been concerned to see a young girl standing there on her own but clearly it has raised concerns and the girl has rightly refused the offer and gone to report the incident to her parents straight away. If there is an innocent explanation it is now important that the driver involved comes forward.”

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The man involved is described as white, in his 30s or 40s, with short dark hair and was wearing a cream/brown jumper.

The worried parent posted a message on the social network site Facebook, saying: “Please be aware of where your children are, and if you live in the Suffolk or Bury St Edmunds area, please re post this, to make other people aware that there may be a preditory weirdo about.

“My daughter is very shaken but is ok. She thought, as she said, that she was going to be the next April Jones.”

Police are making enquiries into the incident, including carrying out house to house enquiries and trying to trace the vehicle anyone who may know the manshould call Suffolk Police on 101.

Officers are asking anyone who was in the area around this time who may have seen what happened to get in touch.

Police have also taken a report of an incident that happened around 6.30pm on Tuesday, October 2, in Bradbrook Close, in Bury St Edmunds.

An eight-year-old boy was walking along when he noticed a dark coloured car being driven slowly alongside him. The male driver - described as white, possibly around 30, with dark hair - did not stop, gesture or talk to the boy, but appeared to be staring at him. The incident was not reported to police until yesterday (Saturday) and there may be an innocent explanation for this too but police need the drivers involved to come forward.

The incidents comes a week after police in Essex released an efit image of a man officers want to talk to in connection with an accosting incident in Great Totham, last month.

It took place on Sunday September 9, when another nine-year-old girl had been approached by a male motorist on Maldon Road, near to The Jubilee Recreation ground.

Police in Suffolk said they were treating the Beyton incident as an accosting and asked anyone who may know the man or saw what happened to contact them on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.