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Home   Dartford   News   Article

Police investigate silver transit van sighting in Dartford after attempted kidnap of girls from Reynolds Training Academy

03 December 2013
by Lizzie Massey

The Facebook posting reporting the van sighting

The Facebook posting reporting the van sighting

Police have investigated the sighting of a silver van with blacked-out windows - just days after an alleged attempted kidnap of girls from a similar van.

A posting on Facebook, warning of the van, said it had been seen "cruising the estate" of Temple Hill at around 5.45am today, and had been blocked in on Osterberg Road.

It said the vehicle contained two, possibly three, men.

The alleged sighting comes just days after girls reported what they believed was an attempted kidnapping in the town.

The men - described as of eastern European appearance - were said to be in a silver van with blacked-out windows.

One of the girls, a 16-year-old, has suffered nightmares after her ordeal, in which three men - described as "aggressive" - screamed at her and an 18-year-old friend to get in their vehicle.

The pair, who were walking to their car after a day at college in Reynolds Training Academy, managed to flee.

But police have confirmed there have been four reports in recent days of girls aged 12 to 18 being approached by men in a similar vehicle in Dartford.

Bosses at the academy sent out an email last Friday, warning of the threat posed by the men in the van.

It said: "Two of our 1st year students were confronted with a potential abduction last Monday.

Three men tried to get two teenagers into a minibus in the car park of Prospect Place in Dartford

Three men tried to get two teenagers into a minibus in the car park of Prospect Place in Dartford

"There are a group of foreign-sounding men driving around in a grey mini bus with blacked-out windows.

"Given this serious and very real threat we would ask that you do not allow any of your children - no matter what age - to travel to or from the studio on their own or even in small groups without an adult."

The college insisted all students were brought to the door and collected by a parent or guardian.

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Now other schools in the area have echoed the advice to parents to be extra vigilant.

An email to parents sent today from the Dartford Science and Technology College said: "Kent police are currently investigating reports of suspicious males approaching girls in the Dartford area. 

"Please ask your children to be extra vigilant when in the area and report any incidents to the police."

A dance studio said there have been four reports of men targeting students in Dartford town centre

Bare-chested Alfie Letchford was caught on CCTV in Dartford town centre

Parents are also stepping up their own measures to protect their children.

One mother from Greenhithe said: "I have stopped my 11-year-old from walking around the town centre with her 12-year-old cousin for the hour while their nan does the supermarket shopping."

A police spokesman said of the latest van sighting that they were called out at around 7.15am today to a report of a suspicious vehicle in Wordsworth Way, Dartford.

The letter sent out by the Reynolds Training Academy in Dartford

The letter sent out by the Reynolds Training Academy in Dartford

As it had been seen around one-and-a-half hours before it was reported, police found nothing.

The registration number given was also not an official number.

Police have now issued advice to those going out at night.

Safety Steps:

  • If you are walking at night avoid travelling alone and taking shortcuts through isolated areas, stick to well lit and busy areas.
  • Plan your route before you go and let others know where you are going and when you will be back.
  • Be alert to what is going on around you. When out walking, don't listen to MP3 players through headphones or speak for too long on the phone.

Anything suspicious should be reported to police on 999 if it is an emergency or life is in danger, or 101 if it is not an emergency. 

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