A worried Leighton Buzzard mum whose daughters were left traumatised after a man followed them in a car as they walked home from school is now chaperoning them on their daily route.
Maria Kelly has spoken to the LBO to warn other parents to be vigilant after her children were hounded on Tuesday afternoon.
Her daughters, who are ten and 11, were coming home from Brooklands Middle School when they were followed along Brooklands Drive and Steppingstone Place.
Maria said: “While they were on Brooklands Drive, my older daughter noticed a man in a grey Corsa following them. He kept just behind them all the way to Steppingstone Place, then he parked up right beside the girls and stared at them.
“The girls walked further up and he followed and pulled up again next to them, that’s when my girls ran home.
“They were crying and I felt sick when they told me what happened, they have both been affected by it, waking up in the night crying and my older daughter didn’t want to go to school the next day. They are both really scared.
“My daughter is very sensible and aware of what is going on, luckily she noticed the car following them and ran home, but she has been shaken by what happened.”
Earlier this month we reported how PCSO patrols were being stepped up in Leighton Buzzard following a handful of incidents where schoolchildren had been approached by men in a van.
And Maria added: “This is not the first time this has happened in the town, it is difficult because the girls are older now and don’t want me to walk them to school, but what can I do.
“It’s difficult for the police, they can’t really patrol every single school route all the way, but a higher police presence might help.
“I do not want this to happen to anyone else, it could have been worse, luckily my daughter noticed the car and ran home, but they are both traumatised by it and I want to make people aware of what has happened.”
Maria’s daughter described the man as white, quite old and slim, with a white/grey beard and short grey/white hair, driving a grey Corsa.
A Beds Police spokesman said patrols had been increased following the incident.
He said: “We received a report that two young girls had been followed by a car in Steppingstone Place, Leighton Buzzard, at around 4.15pm on Tuesday (20 February).
“The driver did not speak to the girls, who then arrived home safely. Officers are continuing to investigate the circumstances around the incident and provide support to the girls’ families.
“We have stepped up visible patrols in the area during peak times, and would like to reassure local residents that matters of this nature are taken extremely seriously.
“Anyone with information about this incident, or who saw a silver Vauxhall Corsa in the area, is asked to contact us using our online reporting centre, or by calling 101. In an emergency, always call 999.
“We would advise parents and children to remain vigilant when it comes to stranger danger. Advice can be found on the NSPCC website here: www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/staying-safe-away-from-home”.