Pupil abduction scare was false alarm
6 October 2012
Police have confirmed that reports of a pupil abduction attempt outside Aldridge school, Walsall, on Thursday was sparked by a misunderstanding - and that parents need not be unduly worried.
Parents received a text message alert from the school, encouraging viligance, after a boy reported a stranger had spoken to him from a parked van. The pupil believed the man asked him if he wanted a lift.
However, West Midlands Police Head of Public Protection, Chief Superintendent Simon Hyde, confirmed there was no malicious intent and that the alert was down to a misunderstanding.
He said: "A police investigation has confirmed there was no attempted abduction of a pupil outside Aldridge school on Thursday.
"The van driver in question was in fact a parent of a pupil waiting for his son who was attending an after-school football event.
"Another boy wearing football kit walked past and we understand he shouted a question to him about when the event finished or whether he'd seen his son - the boy didn't recognise the man, who is not a fluent English speaker, and went home to report that a stranger had tried talking to him.
"Police have studied CCTV footage and traced the van driver who has confirmed what happened.
"It appears this was a genuine mistake and that the boy reported the incident in good faith. We would always encourage youngsters to report suspicious activity near schools or any inappropriate approaches made to them by strangers or attempts to get them into vehicles."