School issues alert as ‘strangers target kids’

Police are investigating at St Francis RC Primary
Police are investigating at St Francis RC Primary
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PARENTS have been warned over reports of strangers approaching children outside an Edinburgh primary.

The headteacher of St Francis RC Primary School in Craigmillar wrote to all parents putting them on alert following the claims.

Police are understood to be monitoring the situation but are not actively investigating any specific cases.

In the letter to parents, head Margot MacAlister said there had been allegations that “children and young people have been approached by people unknown to them”.

“This is under investigation by police and they will keep me updated,” she said. “Please ensure your child knows who is collecting them and always make sure you know where your child is, who they are with and when they will be returning home.”

Rumours are believed to be circulating that pupils were approached by a driver in Greendykes Road who urged them to get into a car.

Ex-Craigmillar councillor Paul Nolan, 61, who has three grandchildren at the school, said: “This is a deeply worrying situation, made worse by the fact that there is a public access road running through the school’s campus.”

But ward councillor Mike Bridgman, who chairs the local Neighbourhood Partnership, said he had been assured by the police that there had been no specific reports of schoolchildren being targeted.

“I heard these rumours and I believe there’s been something on Facebook and perhaps it’s grown from there,” he said.

“I spoke with Inspector Chapman at Craigmillar Police Station and he assured me that they have had no reports as such. Any descriptions of vehicles or people had always been different.

He added: “I would like children to be wary of anything like that and have to err on the side of caution. I would urge them to report anything inappropriate to an adult as soon as possible and never get into a stranger’s car.”

A police spokesman said: “Lothian and Borders Police are aware of concerns in the Niddirie area and are continuing to engage with the community regarding this matter. We would encourage anyone with concerns to contact police.”

A spokesman for the city council said: “Where parents have concerns about safety our schools are always keen to address those concerns and to re-state advice to pupils to take care of themselves on the way to and from school.”