Police are warning women to be on their guard following at least three attempted abductions in Shepton Mallet.
The town’s beat team manager Darren Walton appealed this week to women of all ages walking alone to be on their guard and never to get into cars with strangers.
PC Walton said: “In the light of these incidents, and especially after what has happened to five-year-old April Jones in Wales this week, I urgently appeal to everyone to take care and be on their guard and never to get into cars with strangers.”
And he said he and his officers would be going into schools to drive the message home to youngsters in the light of April’s disappearance and these recent incidents in the town.
One happened at 5.45am last Sunday morning when a 16-year-old girl was walking from her home on the Tadley Acres estate to work at Tesco.
As she passed Field House a Fiat Punto, with two men inside, pulled up beside her. The men persistently tried to offer her a lift and kept following her. But the girl kept saying no and continued walking.
She was able to cut through to Tesco via the bus stop area and ran to raise the alarm with work colleagues. Police and the girl’s parents were alerted.
Now her worried mother has called the Journal to say people must be warned to take care.
“These men were very persistent – they kept trying to offer my daughter a lift and tried to get her to get into their car.
“Thank heavens she did not and was able to get away and run to work and raise the alarm.”
The mother added that around 7am on Sunday another woman who works at Tesco was approaching the store from the other side of the town when the same car with the men stopped and tried to get her into the vehicle but she got away.
“She was very shaken by it too and she is a very sensible lady in her 40s,” said the girl’s mother.
Her husband is now taking their daughter to and from work.
The mother who did not want to be named said she had already contacted Whitstone School to let them know about the incidents.
And she has since found via Facebook that another of her daughter’s friends was approached by the same two men on Saturday night in the town.
Police have since traced the men and have impounded the car as it was found to have no tax or insurance.
They have interviewed both men but both deny the incidents with the two girls.
The worried mother said: “The police cannot do anything at all as there is no evidence of them committing any offence.
“To begin with when the men stopped my daughter she thought they wanted directions.
“But then they became very persistent about offering her a lift and one tried to grab her hand.
“Luckily she had the good sense to say she could see her friend was waiting over the road and managed to run away and raise the alarm.
Anyone with information about the incidents is urged to call police on 101.