White van alert for Dewsbury and Mirfield schoolchildren

Parents have been advised to warn their children to walk home in groups after reports of men in a white van acting suspiciously.

Police have stepped up patrols in Mirfield after sightings of a white van, possibly a Volkswagen or flat-back, parked-up or driving slowly near children have been reported

Mirfield Free Grammar School headteacher Lorraine Barker sent a text message to parents this week, warning pupils to be vigilant and not to talk to strangers.

The message said two men in a white van were following lone female students.

Mrs Barker said: “A number of heads in the local area have been aware that some students have been approached by two men in a white van.

“I have a duty of care to make sure my students get home safely.

“Because of the potential danger I have decided to alert my parents and students of the dangers of talking to strangers and to tell them to go home in groups. I have decided to take a proactive approach to be safe rather than sorry.”

Overthorpe CofE School in Dewsbury also contacted parents on Wednesday, saying: “Reports of white van seen around schools and of occupants trying to lure girl into van. Please be extra vigilant.”

In one instance it was alleged the driver spoke to a child but there has been no suggestion any force has been used against a child.

Inspector Jenny Thompson of the Dewsbury and Mirfield NPT, said: “We take these allegations extremely seriously and are keen to establish precisely what has been occurring.

“We will continue to work closely with local schools, partners and parents.

“NPT officers have stepped up patrols around schools in Mirfield, and our schools liaison officer has spoken to children in assemblies to reinforce safety messages along with school staff.

“I would ask anyone who has seen a white van being used suspiciously in Mirfield in recent weeks to contact the Dewsbury and Mirfield NPT via 101 or CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”