Parents urged to be vigilant after men seen acting suspiciously
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Parents are being urged to be vigilant after a mum fears two men seen acting suspiciously were trying to snatch her two-year-old boy from his pushchair.
Gemma Louise Rash, 31, said she feels “scared and worried all the time” following the incident close in Parsonage Street, Halstead - close to a primary school - on Thursday morning.
The mum-of-two said she was walking towards her home at around 10.40am when she stopped to get a stone out of her shoe.
Whilst bending down she heard the zip being undone on her child’s foot muff and thought it was her son, but when she looked up there were two men stood in front of her.
“One of the men was lent over my pushchair unzipping the Cosy Toes, the other was smoking and pushing an empty pushchair,” explained Gemma.
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She told the men she would call the police and they ran off.
“This has made me feel like the worst mum in the world and that I can’t trust anyone,” said Gemma. “I’m scared and worried all the time now.”
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The police attended Gemma’s home and she informed Richard de Clare Community Academy, the nearby school, about the incident.
The school has since sent out a letter to parents to inform them of the safeguarding concern.
The letter states: “The police have informed us of an incident that happened today (Thursday, October 1) in Parsonage Street, Halstead.
“Two males tried to take a two-year-old child from a pushchair. The child is safe.
“Please can you be very vigilant and make sure you have eyes on your child at all times.”
The school reassured parents that the incident did not happen within its grounds and asked people with any information to contact Essex Police.
Several similar incidents have been reported in the mid and south Essex area over recent days and weeks, with a Facebook group being set up for concerned parents.
Essex Police spoke out last month to reassure parents and said no arrests had been made at that time.
In a statement they said: “Following ongoing concerns regarding reports circulating online about people acting suspiciously around young people in south Essex, we want to reassure you that we are aware of the reports and are urging parents to remain vigilant and report any concerns to us.”
Essex Police have been approached for comment.