Terrified parents are on alert after a man in a silver taxi tried to convince a young schoolgirl to ‘go for a ride’ with him.

This is the fifth report of an attempted abduction in the Ipswich area since the New Year – causing alarm that there is a paedophile on the loose.

A warning has been issued to dozens of schools in the Ipswich area and police are asking parents to warn their children not to accept lifts from strangers.

In the most recent incident, a 11-year-old girl was walking home from school in Fentons Way, Suffolk yesterday afternoon when the man accosted her.

He claimed to be a taxi driver and had been sent by her mum to pick her up.

The young girl was scared and ran away before he could grab her and bundle her into the car.

She described this to police as a ‘silver’ coloured vehicle.

Police, who said they were alerted to the incident just before 5pm yesterday afternoon, have increased patrols in the area and have appealed to residents to look out for the ‘taxi’ in case he strikes again.

He was dressed all in black, was aged around 40, and wore a hooded top and hat with black gloves.

This is the fifth report of its kind this month, and has prompted further warnings from Suffolk police for parents to be vigilant.

Children were told to avoid walking home alone in mid January after several reports of a silver car loitering near Ipswich schools.

The first incident happened on January 7, when the new term started.

An 11-year-old boy was approached in Digby Road by a male driver who asked if he wanted a lift home. The boy walked off, and the man drove away.

The car was described as being light blue or grey, and possibly a taxi.

The driver was white, and had slight stubble on his face.

On January 10, a 12-year-old girl was approached on her way home from school at the bus stop in Woodbridge Road East, near the lane from Digby Road.

This incident was similar, and the girl described seeing a man in a silver car pulling up beside her, with the driver claiming her mother had arranged for a taxi to take her home. She also managed to run away.

On January 21 a 12-year-old girl was walking alone near the junction of Bull Road and Celestion Drive when a driver in a silver car – which she described as a taxi – approached her and said hello.

The man was described as white, in his late 60s or early 70s, with a white short beard. He was wearing a navy blue cap, and had a flushed appearance.

The fourth incident was reported on January 22 at around 7.40am when police say an 11-year-old girl was approached on Foxhall Road.

Detectives investigating the incidents say they are keeping an open mind over whether they are linked – which raises the frightening prospect there may be a ring of kidnappers at work.

Inspector Sally Henderson said: "We understand the nature of these reports will cause concern in the local community.

"However, I would like to reassure local residents by confirming that officers will be conducting additional patrols in the area and our enquiries are continuing.

"We would like to remind children that they should avoid walking home alone and if they witness or see anything suspicious, they should report it straight away to police."

St Alban’s Catholic High School and Rose Hill Primary School have both sent out letters warning parents to be vigilant.

  •  Those with dash cam footage or information about the above incidents should call Suffolk police on 101 quoting CAD 137 (for the January 7 incident), CAD 87 (January 10), CAD 42 (January 21), or CAD 73 (January 22).

Or, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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