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Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells: Police issue fresh warning to people using Halloween masks

Police have issued a fresh warning to pranksters in Halloween masks who have been scaring children in Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells.

Officers are continuing to follow a number of lines of inquiry after reports of suspicious activity near local schools, concerning people wearing scary masks and chasing pupils.

Frantic parents issued a warning after a group of Year 7 Hillview School pupils were reportedly chased through Tonbridge by a woman donning a halloween-style mask last week.

An 18-year-old girl has been forced to apologise after scaring Tonbridge school children with masks. Stock picture
An 18-year-old girl has been forced to apologise after scaring Tonbridge school children with masks. Stock picture

Kent Police is now asking people to use Halloween masks and costumes responsibly.

Tunbridge Wells Ch Insp, Dave Pate, said: "With Halloween approaching it’s not unusual for people to be wearing fancy dress, including masks.

"However, clearly there is a difference between celebrating responsibly and setting out to deliberately scare young and vulnerable people."

A Kent Police spokesman said whilst it is believed some of the incidents may be the work of pranksters, officers are reviewing local CCTV and maintaining visible patrols outside schools.

Police are appealing for witnesses.
Police are appealing for witnesses.

Police have also received several separate reports of men in a white van approaching children near schools and railway stations.

Last week schools in Tunbridge Wells issued a warning after a boy reported that he was approached by two men in a van which stopped in Sandown Park.

There were also reports of three men approaching two young boys in Maidstone.

Ch Insp Pate added: "I want to make it clear that we always fully investigate any report of this nature and we will continue to clamp down hard on anyone doing anything to cause alarm, distress or fear to others.

"Offenders will be arrested and can face prosecution for matters such as public order offences.

"If any child is approached or has any concerns about people behaving suspiciously they should report it immediately to their parents or schoolteachers who can then report it to police."

Report any suspicious behaviour to Kent Police on 101, or call 999 if it is an emergency.

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