Police step up patrols after schoolchildren followed by men

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Police are warning parents and children in Great Cornard to be vigilant after a series of incidents involving men following schoolchildren.

At around 3.30pm on Thursday, a man approached a 10-year-old boy while he was walking along The Drift. The man asked a number of questions about his schooling and his family before the boy ran off.

The man is described as white, around 62 years old, approximately 5ft 6in tall, of medium to large build and with dark, medium-length hair.

He was clean shaven, with yellow teeth and was wearing a long, black waterproof coat down to his knees, with brown or cream corduroy trousers and green laced plimsolls.

A second incident occurred between 3.30pm and 3.45pm on the same day when two 11-year-old boys and a 12-year-old girl noticed a man walking behind them along The Drift.

The man followed them into Rede Way and, as the group briefly stopped, the man did the same. The group then ran home.

The man is described as white, around 48 years old, with stubble or a short beard and short grey/black hair. He was wearing a long, dark jacket and dark clothing.

Later, at around 5.30pm, a nine-year-old boy reported that a man jumped out of bushes while he was walking along Hartest Way. Police are due to speak to the boy again to ascertain exactly what happened.

The man is described as white, aged in his early 40s, approximately 5ft 8in tall, of medium build with sideburns. He was wearing a black woolly hat with a bobble on the top, a black puffa jacket, grey baggy jeans, white trainers and thick black woolly gloves.

Last week, police received a report that a 15-year-old girl had been followed part of her way home from school by the same man on two consecutive days. The man did not speak to her and carried on walking when she reached her home address.

The man is described as being of large build, approximately 5ft 8in tall, with ginger hair and stubble. He was wearing an unzipped navy jacket with a polo top underneath, black jogging bottoms and trainers.

Police believe the incidents may be linked.

Inspector Paul Crick, from Sudbury Police, said: “We have arranged for officers to patrol key areas around school times in the morning and afternoon and will be working closely with local schools to ensure pupils are aware of the risks of walking alone.

“While we do not want residents to be alarmed, we would ask that parents remain vigilant, children walk to and from school in groups and if anyone sees anyone acting suspiciously to call police immediately.”

Anyone with information in relation to any of the above incidents is asked to contact Sudbury Police on 101.