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Dad’s stranger danger alarm

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By Fiona Reid
Lockerbie and Lochmaben
Dad’s stranger danger alarm

A WORRIED dad has warned of a ‘Maddie McCann’ situation in Annandale after a stranger approached his eight-year-old daughter while she was playing in Moffat.

In Well Street last Friday (February26)  afternoon, a man with ‘wrinkled skin’ asked the youngster if she wanted to ‘come for a ride’.

It happened near the Milk Bar at around 4 pm when the girl was playing on a scooter with her friend, also aged eight.

She immediately refused the man and rushed off to tell her friend’s mum.

And her dad, Chris Conway, this week said the incident has badly scared his daughter.

He said: “She wouldn’t even go to the toilet on her own after it happened as she was afraid he was watching the house.

“Even days later she wouldn’t go across to the park, 30 seconds from our house, because there was an adult there with children.

And Chris has hit out at ‘useless’Police Scotland for their handling of the situation.

He said: “Immediately her friend’s mum went to the police station, which was closed. So she then phoned the police who said they would be right there.

“She waited for an hour before having to bring our daughter back as we just wanted her home to cuddle her.”

By 9.30 pm Chris and his family were still waiting to hear from police, so called again, but officers did not arrive to interview the child until 11 pm that night.

Chris said: “This is not just incompetent, it puts every other child in the area in danger. “Maybe if the police were more efficient our daughter would have felt safer and more protected.”

Chris used his social media following to alert fellow Moffat parents to the situation – and his post advising families to be on their guard was shared more than 1400 times.

He said: “This man was brazen enough to try and pick an eightyear-old child up on a busy street in the afternoon. Who knows what he would have done on a quiet road?

“It terrifies me to think what he would have done.”

The concerned dad is also now considering developing a website so parents can report similar incidents:

“I don’t want witch hunts, but it would be a place where incidents and car descriptions or description of the person or persons who approached could be reported.”

Responding, Inspector Gordon McKnight, of Lockerbie Police Station, said: “I can understand that any parent would be unhappy about not receiving a visit from the police within a reasonable timescale and without explanation.”

He pledged to ‘personally review’ the incident and find out the cause of the delay, adding: “I have made contact with the parent and offered to discuss this further.

“Although this type of incident is unusual and rare in our area, the police are taking this incident seriously.”

Police are appealing for any witnesses who may have seen the driver, believed to be in his 70s, of an old, small blue/green car, with faded paint and five doors and a badge which looked like a bird with a circle round it – perhaps a Mazda – on Friday to get in touch.

They are also asking the driver to come forward if he would like to provide an explanation for his behaviour.

 

Front, Moffat, News

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