Pupils at a North Shore School made up a story about a girl being kidnapped to scare younger pupils, police say.
The fake story follows on from three real scares of "stranger danger" in previous weeks including one incident where a young boy was grabbed while walking metres behind his mother.
Two other incidents followed where young girls were approached by a man in a vehicle and asked if they wanted a ride - both of these incidents have now been found to be simple misunderstandings.
North Shore Police area commander Inspector Les Paterson said a concerned mother contacted a radio station on Wednesday to say her daughter had reported the attempted kidnapping of a friend by a strange man in the school playground.
Paterson said the case was fake and was understood to have followed a talk to the school's pupils about "stranger danger" last week.
"Child abductions by strangers are extremely rare, yet police must take all reports at face value and investigate," Paterson said.
"Often there is a spate of reports following publicity."
In relation to the incidents with the girls being approached, Detective Senior Sergeant Brett Batty, of Rodney CIB, said a "highly embarrassed" man came to the Orewa Police Station after hearing reports on the radio.
Interviews by police established there was no criminal intent.
"In hindsight he realises his actions could be seriously misconstrued and he further stated the two girls did the right thing in not accepting the ride," Batty said.
The community had been vigilant since the first incidents were raised, and no further complaints or unexplained approaches to children have been received.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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