Politicians in Mid Ulster have urged parents to be vigilant after two separate ‘stranger danger’ reports in as many days.
On Tuesday, a child was approached outside her home in a rural part of Draperstown, by a woman offering the child a lift, while on Wednesday a man attempted to grab a child in Coagh.
DUP MLA Ian McCrea said: “These are deeply disturbing incidents and I would encourage all parents to be extra vigilant at this time.
“It is imperative that any witnesses come forward to help police apprehend these sick individuals before the unimaginable happens.”
Patsy McGlone the SDLP MLA warned against scaremongering, but said parents should take caution after the reports.
He said: “This is extremely concerning and worrying, and I urge parents everywhere to be on the alert. The last thing you want to do is scaremonger, but parents and the wider community need to be vigilant.
“For many people living in rural areas, especially, it is normal for children to play outside without the worry of strangers making suspicious approaches. However, as events over the last few days have shown no one can take any chances anymore.
“I urge anyone who notices any strange or suspicious behaviour in their area to contact police immediately.”
Sinn Fein councillor Gavin Bell, said the abduction bid in Ballinderry has sparked fears right across the community.
Mr Bell said he also believed the largely rural area, needed a more visible presence to help reassure the community.
“This is a very worrying report, that someone tried to grab a young child playing outside their own home,” he said.
“It is something, which is very rare, but obviously this is a very serious situation and it is vitally important that anyone, who has any shred of information pass it to the police immediately.”
He added: “There is a need for more police patrols in the Ballinderry area, they do not have to be driving the roads day and night, but certainly there is a need for a more visible police presence,”