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Man tried to snatch schoolgirls.

Byline: By Anna Hammond and Ben Glaze South Wales Echo

Parents are horrified after a man in a white van tried to grab two 10-year-old girl as they walked to school.

The middle-aged, scruffy man tried to entice the girls into his van and attempted to grab one of them.

Police have appealed for parents to be vigilant but calm.

Lesley Garley, a local grandmother, said: 'I am worried sick. It's horrifying that there is somebody lurking around the school.' 'It's every parent's worst nightmare': Two young girls were the target of a man in a blacked-out van who tried to grab them outside their primary school gates.

The 10-year-olds got away when the middle-aged man with scruffy hair tried to bundle them into the vehicle.

Today parents and grandparents at the gates of the Llantrisant school spoke of their horror, while a police van patrolled the street.

Grandmother Lesley Garley said: 'I am just worried sick really. It's horrifying that there is somebody lurking around the school, this is every parent's worst nightmare.'

Police said the incident outside Penygawsi Primary School, Chartist Road, Llantrisant, yesterday at 8.30am was 'suspicious' and are appealing for vigilance and calm.

The white man, who had collar length, curly unkempt hair and was wearing black trousers and trainers, got out of his white van and tried to get hold of the girls.

But they ran off into school where they told their teacher what had happened.

It is thought he is aged 45 to 60 years old and was driving a small to medium sized white van.

Helen Jarman, who was taking her two daughters, aged five and three to the school today, said: 'It's obviously concerning.

'We have heard reports that other schools in the area have had the same sort of thing with a white van.

'It's nice to see the police going up and down this morning. Let's hope they catch him.'

Dad Graeme Deverill who was dropping off his children aged four, nine and 10, added: 'We have heard about this van for quite a while so I can't believe nobody has caught him yet.

'I won't let my kids out of my sight, you have to be really conscious in this age we live in.'

Councillor Glynne Holmes, who is on the school's governing body, said: 'I am absolutely amazed that this has happened. Stunned that something like this could happen somewhere so rural. Llantrisant is a very safe area. You don't think it's going to happen in your own back garden.

'I haven't spoken to the headteacher yet but she has got an excellent school there. I would have thought there would have to be an emergency meeting for something like this.

'I would say to parents to walk with their children to school, maybe a group could get together and one parent could look after a few children. I would ask everyone to be watchful for this white van and to work very closely with the police.'

Witnesses or anyone with information on this incident is asked to call South Wales Police on 01656 655555 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 7, 2006
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