David Stuart

Man tries to pick up child near school

THE parents of a child approached by a stranger in Lawrence while walking home from school are reeling at the threat to the safety of their son and their tight knit community.

The nine-year-old boy had been walking eastwards along Cook St, against the flow of traffic about 3.10pm on Wednesday.

Police were told a man driving a small white or grey Holden crossed to the incorrect side of the road and pulled alongside him and asked if he wanted a lift.

The boy ran home and told his parents about the incident.

The child's father, who did not wish to be identified, told The Daily Examiner it was a sobering thought that something like this would happen in a place like Lawrence.

"I suppose you can get complacent and lulled into a false sense of security because you know most of the people in your community, but obviously people like this float around and can strike anywhere," he said.

"I'm just really proud of my son for the way he handled the situation."

Police from Coffs/Clarence Local Area Command searched the area, but could not find the man or the vehicle.

Officers would like to speak with a man who may be able to assist them with inquiries.

The man is described as being of Caucasian appearance, about 18 to 25 years old, with short-brown hair, green eyes and a long face.

He wore a white top with possibly an American football or basketball logo which looked worn out with holes.

It is the third child approach in the Coffs/Clarence region since an 11-year-old girl was allegedly accosted by a woman in Grafton on Friday afternoon.

About 3.30pm, while the girl was in Pound St on her way home from school, a woman got out of a car, followed the child and grabbed her arm before the youngster ran away.

A second incident was reported in Coffs Harbour on Sunday, after two 10-year-old boys with pushbikes were approached by a man in a Toyota van at about 5.30pm.

He allegedly asked them to come over to the vehicle, which contained balloons and children's toys that could be seen through the back window.

Police said each of the matters was being investigated thoroughly and have urged anyone with information to phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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