| 4.1°C Dublin

Mystery van raises village fears of child abduction bid

PARENTS in a north Dublin village have been urged to remain calm after an approach was made to a child by the occupants of a van.

The incident happened this week as children, enjoying school holidays, played on a green area on an estate.

It sparked serious concern among residents of Donabate, with rumours of an attempted abduction.

But gardai stressed: "There was no attempted abduction.

"We are investigating an incident that occurred on Wednesday when people were noticed in a van, acting suspiciously.

"There is no need for panic. The facts are that suspicious comments were made by a person in the van."

Gardai have acknowledged that the incident provoked panic.

Residents the the Links estate have seen a flurry of texts being exchanged.

Gardai from Swords, who are investigating the incident, have increased their presence in the area's estates and are on the lookout for the van and its occupants.

It is understood CCTV footage from local businesses is being checked in the hope that it will identify the people involved. The incident is particularly worrying as it follows three separate incidents involving children in north Co Dublin last month.


It is understood that on each occasion a man tried to lure a child into his car in Swords.

In each case, a man tried to entice them into a blue car, promising them sweets.

The three suspicious approaches happened between March 3 and March 14.

In April last year there was another reported incident, and on that occasion an image of an individual who gardai wanted to question featured on the Crimecall programme.

The man had offered two young girls, aged seven and eight, a lift in his car in the Ridgewood area of Swords.

Schools in the area were on alert and Gaelscoil Bhrian Boroimhe issued a text warning to parents, stating: "Please mind your children. Strangers offering lifts to children reported in the Swords area."

Another school, Holy Family Junior School, in Rivervalley, Swords, also sent out a written notice.

"The girls said the man tried to entice them into his car by offering to give them a lift to a nearby playground.

Luckily, the children ran off and told their parents."

"It's a very serious matter and gardai would like anyone who knows this man to contact them," a garda spokeswoman said at the time.

Last month a Dublin-born paedophile who was on the UK's most wanted list was arrested in Co Longford.

Patrick Pious Hancox (67) was wanted for child sex offences and child abduction in the UK.