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Parents take extra care

Last updated 05:00 25/10/2012

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Parents are taking extra precautions, including driving their children to school, after two reports of children being offered a ride by a stranger.

A 9-year-old girl was offered a lift by an unknown man in a car outside Red Beach School on October 17 about 3pm, police say.

"The girl declined and returned to the school grounds where school management and police were notified," Detective Senior Sergeant Brett Batty of the Rodney police says.

Red Beach School principal Julie Hepburn responded quickly, sending an email to parents.

Ms Hepburn says one student was approached by a European man in a two-door white vehicle offering her a ride home. "Wisely, our student declined, immediately removed herself from the situation and alerted her mother," Ms Hepburn says.

"We are very proud of our student for acting bravely and being clear-headed in what was a stressful incident."

The second incident happened the next day at 8.30am when two 13-year-old girls were offered a ride on Moffatt Rd in Red Beach.

The unknown man was "going in the same direction as them".

Both girls declined the offer and told their parents and police.

"In both cases the male has been described as aged in his 40s with wavy hair.

"However, the description of the type of vehicle driven differs in the two incidents," Mr Batty says.

Police are investigating if the two events are linked.

"The motives of the person or persons involved may well be innocent, but it is timely to remind people that these sorts of offers, though done with the best of intentions, can often be misconstrued," Mr Batty says.

"We are keeping an open mind on these events.

"On a positive note in both cases, the offers of a ride from a stranger were firmly rejected and subsequently the appropriate parties were notified in a timely way."

The events follow an incident where a 5-year-old boy was grabbed by a man in Greenhithe on October 15. The child was walking just metres behind his mother.

The boy managed to break free and police were called. Police are following positive lines of inquiry in relation to this incident.

"Police spend a considerable amount of time in our schools teaching children how to keep safe," Mr Batty says.

"In this case I am glad to say that these lessons have resonated and have been acted upon."

● In the late 1990s and early 2000 several attempts were made to abduct school children in Rodney, mainly in the Riverhead, Helensville's Peak Rd to Wainui area. On one occasion a man drove into school grounds during a gala and grabbed a boy who broke free.

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- Rodney Times

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