A 43-year-old man from Hastings in Sussex who was questioned by police over two attempted child abductions has been released on bail until February while police make further inquiries.
Hampshire Police are calling on motorists from Sussex to come forward with any information about two attempted child abductions in Havant on 18th and 19th December. The first incident was in Leigh Park, the second in Emsworth.
A priority is identifying and talking with two motorists who we believe are vital witnesses to the second attempted abduction in Emsworth.
It is possible these motorists were commuters travelling into or out of Sussex, particularly Chichester, on Wednesday morning.
The 11-year-old victim told police that drivers sounded their horns at him when he ran into traffic to get away from his attempted abductor. If you were driving a gold-coloured Mini-style car or similar model, or a blue Vauxhall, in Southleigh Road in Emsworth at around 8.30am on 19th December 2012, please contact police."
– Detective Inspector Jeff Huggett, Waterlooville CID.
So far, police have received 45 calls from the public and spoken with 40 motorists. In a statement, Hampshire Police said the arrest and bailing of one man was one of many leads being followed. They said there were other important witnesses they hoped to speak to.
A team of officers and staff continue to work extra shifts this weekend to gather and analyse information about the circumstances of both attempted abductions and the identity of whoever was responsible. We would like to thank colleagues in Sussex Police for their assistance.
I would like to express my thanks to both children and their families after such an upsetting experience. Police are grateful to them and the parents for their time, co-operation and composure during a series of events that have disrupted their lives so close to Christmas."
A man has been arrested by Hampshire Police investigating two attempted abductions in Havant. A 43-year-old man from Hastings was arrested on 21st December.
The first attempt was in Leigh Park at 1.50pm on 18th December. A 12-year-old girl was grabbed between Purbrook Way and Middle Park Way.
In a similar incident at about 8.30am on 19th December, a man attempted to grab an 11-year-old boy in Southleigh Road, Emsworth. The boy was about to cross the road when a man left a van and grabbed the boy’s wrist. The boy shouted, screamed and pinched him. The man let go and the boy ran away.
This investigation remains a priority for Hampshire Constabulary with officers and staff working extra shifts over the weekend to pursue lines of enquiry swiftly.
This arrest in Sussex is one of several leads we are following at this time. No one has been charged or convicted. Therefore, police must keep an open mind and ask the public not to reach hasty conclusions while we are gathering and analysing information. I would like to thank our colleagues in Sussex Police for their assistance, and appeal again for members of the public to come forward with any information."
– Detective Inspector Jeff Huggett, senior investigating officer
Police have received no other reports of attempted abductions in Havant and Waterlooville since Wednesday morning. They are not linking this investigation to any other suspicious incidents elsewhere.
Further enquiries identified two specific motorists who could be important witnesses to the second attempted abduction in Southleigh Road in Emsworth. The 11-year-old victim provided more details about two vehicles whose motorists sounded their horns at him when he ran into traffic away from his attempted abductor. We are renewing a direct appeal for the drivers of a gold-coloured Mini-style car or similar model, and a blue Vauxhall, to speak with the police about what they saw. The boy remembers the descriptions of these cars in Southleigh Road at around 8.30am on Wednesday, 19th December."