Man ‘tries to snatch two-year-old girl’ from playground ‘while mum was distracted’

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Police are hunting a suspect who tried to grab a toddler from a playground while her mum was distracted.

The stranger attempted to leave a Wiltshire park in the town of Royal Wootton Bassett with the two-year-old girl before the mum intervened, police say.

Detectives say they are “leaving no stone unturned” in their search for the man who tried to grab the girl “while her mum looked away briefly” at around 11.30am yesterday.

Wiltshire Police said a woman in her 20s had taken her daughter to the new children’s play park near Cloatley Crescent and Churn Way yesterday when the man approached.

There were a number of children in the park at the time.

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And when the woman looked away briefly, a man approached her daughter and attempted to exit the park with her, police said.

The woman immediately grabbed her daughter and the man walked off without a word or any physical altercation.

The woman and her child returned home safely and called the police.

Detectives said they are remaining ‘open minded’ about the man’s intentions.

But they are appealing to the public for help in tracing him.

The man is described as tanned, 30-40 years of age, approximately 5 ft 11 inches tall and of average build. He had a polo shirt type top on with long shorts. 

Detective Inspector Paul Hacker said: “Since receiving this initial report, officers have been conducting extensive enquiries in the area.

“Unfortunately, there appears to be no CCTV opportunities available, however we have been continuing with house to house enquiries and further enquiries are being conducted today.

“Understandably, this incident has caused anxiety and upset to those involved and no doubt this news will cause further concern amongst the local community – at this stage of our investigation we are keeping an open mind as to what the man’s intentions may have been.

“It is possible that there may be an innocent explanation to this and if that is the case, we would still like to speak to the man involved to understand exactly what this was. Rest assured we are leaving no stone unturned in our enquiries to identify him.

“We know there were a couple of children in the park at the time, there may also have been other parents in that area too. If you were in the park area yesterday at around 11.30am please do get in touch.”

Anyone with information is urged to call 101 and quote crime reference number 54200073762.

Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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