Police have issued an urgent alert after reports of two suspected attempted kidnappings in the Greater Manchester area.
Detectives launched an investigation after two incidents 11 miles apart were reported earlier this week, both of which included similar descriptions of the perpetrators and vehicle used.
Greater Manchester Police said that a 14-year-old girl was followed by a white Ford Transit-style van whilst walking along a path in the Bolton borough of Westhoughton on Monday evening.
The girl reported three people wearing balaclavas jumped from the van and chased her.
She fled to a nearby address and then walked safely home, the force said. The driver of the van was not wearing a balaclava.
Detectives then received a similar report on Tuesday. Two 11-year-olds walking down a lane in Radcliffe described a person in a white Transit-style van opening the vehicle’s sliding door and demanding they get inside.
One of the people in the van attempted to grab one of the children’s coats, but both ran to safety.
The van involved in the second incident is further described as being dirty and rusty with white bumpers and had ladders on the roof.
The driver of that van was described as white, with tanned or darker-shaded skin and aged between 30-40 years-old. He was not wearing a balaclava.
Chief Inspector Phil Spurgeon of GMP’s Bury Division said: “We understand the concern that incidents such as these causes.
“I’d like to reassure the community that we have detectives working on both incidents to establish if they are linked, and to identify the vehicles and occupants involved.
“It is absolutely essential that anyone with information on these two incidents contacts police as a matter of urgency.
“Perhaps you have seen a white van driving suspiciously in the Bolton or Bury area during the last few days.
“Even the smallest piece of information can be enough to help apprehend suspects and solve cases such as these.
“We would particularly like to appeal to a woman whom we believe witnessed the second incident in Radcliffe.”
Anyone with information should contact police on 0161 856 8172 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
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