Police investigate attempted school kidnappings

Wanted man

Wanted man

UPDATE, WEDNESDAY 8.50AM: Daylesford Primary School will run extra stranger danger lessons this week after two reported abduction attempts on students.

School principal Peter Burke said the school was taking the kidnapping incidents 'very seriously'.

“The safety of our students is always our number one priority,'' Mr Burke said.

“We’re working closely with the police and at the moment we have additional staff on playground duty during recess and lunch, as well as before and after school.

“I’m proud of our students for immediately reporting it to the school - we were able to inform Victoria Police straight away.

“We run regular stranger danger sessions for our kids and it’s great to see that they’re working. 

''We’ll be running additional stranger danger lessons this week.”

EARLIER, TUESDAY: Police are searching for a man who tried to abduct two separate children from a primary school in Daylesford on the same day.

It is believed the man grabbed a seven-year-old boy by the arm as he was exiting a toilet block and attempted to lure him away. 

The boy broke free and raised the alarm. 

Police believe the same man also approached a five-year-old girl in the school grounds around 2pm, attempting to convince her to leave with him. 

She told a family member of the incident later that night and the school and police were notified the next morning.

Detectives from the Ballarat Sexual Offence and Child Abuse Investigation Team are investigating and have released a computer-generated image of the man they wish to speak to in relation to the incidents. 

He was perceived to be Caucasian in appearance and aged in his late 40s with a medium build. 

He was wearing ripped jeans, a blue t-shirt and a red-coloured hat. 

Ballarat Sexual Offence and Child Abuse Investigative Team Detective Acting Sergeant Adam Tink said today a number of inquiries were being followed, including speaking with witnesses and looking at CCTV footage from local shops.

However, Acting Sergeant Tink said they had yet to receive any new information after a FACE image of the man was released this morning.

"We encourage anyone in Daylesford who may have seen the man to come forward," he said.

Detective Acting Sergeant Tink said both children were unharmed and were coping well.

However, he said it was very concerning the man had entered school property.

"But we're very comfortable the school has taken appropriate action.

"The parents have been well informed of the circumstances."

He said the man is believed to have entered via the school's front entrance.

"We've spoken to the school, the staff and the students. Our investigation is ongoing and we're following a number of inquiries."

He said the school had changed several of its policies, including children now having to go to the toilet in pairs.

He said no known paedophiles were currently living in the Daylesford area but stressed parents needed to talk about stranger danger with their children.

"It is concerning the age of the students targeted in the school. There is no indication of where he came from or where he went."

He said rumours of a similar incident at another Daylesford school a few weeks earlier were unfounded.

Anyone with any information about the incidents or the man’s identity is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit www.crimestoppers.com.au 

The Department of Education has been contacted for comment. 

with The Courier

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