Police step up school patrols

Braidwater Gardens. INBT13-265AC
Braidwater Gardens. INBT13-265AC

Police patrols in Ballymena have been stepped up in the wake of two separate suspicious approaches towards young boys in the past week.

On Friday, a 10-year-old boy was playing in the Wilson Crescent area of Harryville at 4.45pm when an unknown man approached him, offered him money and asked him to get into his van. The child managed to run away to a nearby house.

The man is described as having dark hair and wearing a dark coat and was driving a large light coloured van.

The suspicious approach in Harryville came within hours of police revealing details of a similar incident on St Patrick’s Day in Broughshane.

A PSNI spokesperson said a 10-year-old boy was walking along Braidwater Gardens when he was approached by a man who offered him a sweet. When the boy refused, the man grabbed him by the wrist but fled from the scene when the boy kicked him before running off.

The man is described as being tall with long dark hair, a small amount of facial hair and a cut on his left ear. He was wearing a black cap, dark glasses, a dark green coat and brown shoes.

A PSNI spokesperson said that although neither of the boys were injured both had been “left badly shaken”. It was also pointed out that police “are actively investigating the reports as well as stepping up patrols in the area”.

Inspector Trevor Atkinson said: “I fully understand that such reports concern parents and the entire community. I am confident that officers are conducting proactive enquiries into these reports, as we seek to understand the nature of these incidents.

“The priority is to keep people safe and the safety of children is paramount,” he said.