Mothers are too terrified to let their children out to play after a man tried to lure away a seven-year-old girl from a play area.
The frightening incident five weeks ago has shocked families living in the Shaw Road area of Grantham’s Earlesfield estate, and after keeping their youngsters indoors over the summer holiday they are calling for more action to be taken.
Jackie Smith said: “We need more protection down here. We need cameras so we can at least relax slightly. They’re a deterrent.
“The police do walk around here but it’s at the wrong times. They walk around in the daytime but they need to be here at teatime.”
Parents are angry that they found out about the incident by reading about it in the Journal or seeing posts on Facebook, rather than hear it from police officers.
They read how a strange man approached the little girl on a grassed play area to the rear of Chestnut Grove as she was kicking around a football. He kicked away her ball and asked her to go around the corner to play with him, but the girl ran home to tell her mother, who called the police.
The man ran off down an alleyway and was not caught.
Parents are finding they have become suspicious of any new faces in the area, but mother Paula Arebalo believes they are right to be wary. She said her husband caught a man sneaking around at the back of their home and peering into their driveway last Monday.
She said: “My husband had never seen him before. He watched him cycling around, looking about and checking the area. When he went towards my garden, he saw my husband and backed away.
“I have three kids, what if my husband wasn’t there?”
The grassed area where the incident happened is popular with youngsters and “keeps them off the street” said mum Carolyn Scothern.
Jackie added: “It’s supposed to be safe for them here, but it’s not.”
Despite parents’ concerns, police spokesman James Newall said there is “no danger to young people on the estate”.
He added: “There is nothing to suggest that anyone in the area is at risk. There’s no reason why kids should not be out to play.
“We do have an increased police presence anyway to deal with general anti-social behaviour.”
Any suspicious behaviour should be reported to police on 101.