News

Stranger danger in Drumgath

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

A SCHOOLGIRL was allegedly approached by a man in a car in the Drumgath area last week.

A male driving a silver car approached the young girl at around 3.45pm on Monday (8 May). The girl refused to get into the man's car and he sped off. The incident was later reported to police who are investigating.

In the aftermath of this alarming approach, local representatives have reminded parents to reinforce the 'Stranger Danger' message to help keep their children safe.

Crotlieve Councillor Declan McAteer knows only too well the impact that incidents like this can have on young people.

He says he can still remember certain details of a car that had been "prowling " the area when he was walking home from school as a child.

"As a schoolchild 45 years ago I can still recall the colour of a car that was acting suspiciously when I was walking home from school.

"I remember being absolutely terrified at the time.

The fact that I can remember it four decades on, highlights howincidents like this have a lasting impact on young people," said Councillor McAteer.

While it is important to make children aware of the dangers and highlight this incident, Councillor Mc- Ateer says it is important not to instill fear.

"There is a fear now after this incident but we don't want to see children come home from school frightened but then we do need to be more cautious." Headded that parents "should report registrations of vehicles that they feel are suspicious, even if it is innocuous".

"It is better to be safe than sorry and the police can check out all reports," said Councillor McAteer.

He said that people in the Rathfriland area should not be complacent writing this off as "only an approach ".

"Even this type of behaviour is worrying. Kids know right from wrong and know when something isn't right," said Councillor McAteer.

Councillor Gillian Fitzpatrick also called on parents "to ensure that no child walks to or from school alone".

The PSNI confirmed officers are looking into the incident and are carrying out a number of enquiries in the local area.

In June last year, it was reported to police that a man driving a silver car had approached a group of children walking to school on John Street in Rathfriland.

Following that incident, police officers were working with school authorities and were taking steps to reinforce the Stranger Danger message and had stepped up patrols in the area. There is no suggestion the two approaches are linked.

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