WARNING letters have been sent to hundreds of parents amid claims of an adult approaching a child in “suspicious circumstances” on their way to school.
Police are investigating the incident allegedly involving a young boy and a stranger which is believed to have taken place near Cuiken Primary in Penicuik on Tuesday.
Council chiefs in Midlothian have dispatched letters to all parents of children at the six primary schools in the town urging pupils to travel to school in small groups or with an adult.
The letter, signed by acting head of education Sheena Dawe, reads: “Please be advised that police are investigating an allegation, as yet unsubstantiated, that a pupil was approached by an adult in suspicious circumstances on the way to Cuiken Primary School today [Tuesday].
“Pupils are encouraged to walk to and from school in small groups or accompanied by an adult where possible.
“Parents are urged to be vigilant and contact Lothian and Borders Police if they notice anything suspicious.”
Police said they were “working to establish the circumstances” but had stopped short of launching a full-scale inquiry.
One parent, who asked not to be named said: “I heard that a man in a blue van had approached a wee boy near the school, whether he was up to no good I don’t know. It’s terrifying to think there might be a guy targeting the kids.
“My own son goes to the school and personally I’d rather know if something was going on than not know.”
This view was echoed by Penicuik councillor Adam Montgomery, who praised the council’s quick response to the possible threat.
“The school has acted pretty quickly on this in getting letters out to parents,” he said. “No-one wants to overreact but I think it’s best to err on the side of caution.
“I think the majority of parents would rather know something suspicious has occurred than not.
“If the school was to say nothing and parents then heard second hand we’d be accused of a cover-up. The matter is now with the police and we wait to see what they find.”
A Lothian and Borders Police spokesman said: “Police are currently working to establish the circumstances of an incident that happened in Cuiken Terrace in Penicuik earlier today involving a child who was reportedly approached by a van driver.
“Inquiries are ongoing. Anyone who has any information regarding this incident should contact Lothian and Borders Police on 0131-311 3131, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”