Detectives probe two ‘child abduction attempts’ within eight miles of each other after balaclava-wearing gang tried to bundle girl, 14, and two 11-year-olds into white Transit van
- Police are probing two attempted child abductions within 24 hours of each other
- First incident saw a girl, aged 14, chased down the road in Westhoughton, Bolton
- Few hours later, two 11 year olds nearly abducted while walking in Radcliffe, Bury
Police are probing two attempted child abductions within 24 hours of each other after a gang of men wearing balaclavas tried to bundle three youngsters into the back of a van.
The incidents took place eight miles apart and saw a 14-year-old girl chased down the road and an 11-year-old almost grabbed by the coat while walking with a friend.
In both instances, the children were approached by men in a white Transit-style van with blacked-out side windows and a sliding door.
The first attempt occurred at 9.40pm on Monday, as a 14-year-old girl was walking towards an alley in Westhoughton, Bolton.
The first attempt occurred at 9.40pm on Monday, as a 14-year-old girl was walking towards an alley in Westhoughton, Bolton (pictured)
She was followed a short distance by a white van, before three people wearing balaclavas jumped from inside and chased her.
She ran to a nearby address, after which she was safely walked home.
The driver of the van was not wearing a balaclava. He is described as white and was wearing a coat with a fur-lined hood.
Shortly after 3.40pm on Tuesday, two 11 year olds were walking in Radcliffe, Bury.
Again, a white Transit-style van with a sliding door was stationary at traffic lights at the junction with Blackburn Street.
The van’s sliding door opened and a person in the van demanded the children get inside.
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One of the people attempted to grab one of the children’s coats, but missed. The children then ran off.
The van is further described as being dirty and rusty with white bumpers and had ladders on the roof.
The rear section of the van had no seating and there was wood in the back.
The driver in the second incident was described as white, with tanned or darker-shaded skin and aged between 30 to 40 years-old.
He was wearing a black baseball cap, dirty clothes and black trainers, one of which had a hole in.
It is believed that a woman witnessed this attempted abduction and police are urging her and anyone else who witnessed either incident to get in touch.
Shortly after 3.40pm on Tuesday, two 11 year olds were walking in Radcliffe, Bury. Again, a white Transit-style van with a sliding door was stationary at traffic lights
Chief Inspector Phil Spurgeon of GMP’s Bury Division said: ‘We understand the concern that incidents such as these causes.
‘I’d like to reassure the community that we have detectives working on both incidents to establish if they are linked, and to identify the vehicles and occupants involved.
‘It is absolutely essential that anyone with information on these two incidents contacts police as a matter of urgency.
‘Perhaps you have seen a white van driving suspiciously in the Bolton or Bury area during the last few days.
‘Even the smallest piece of information can be enough to help apprehend suspects and solve cases such as these.
‘We would particularly like to appeal to a woman whom we believe witnessed the second incident in Radcliffe.’
Anyone with information should contact police on 0161 856 8172 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
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