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Boy (10) escapes after masked stranger tries to grab him in park

Police are appealing for witnesses
Police are appealing for witnesses

A 10-year-old boy has managed to escape after a masked stranger attempted to grab him as he rode his bike in a park.

The youngster was playing near the Mill Pond in Crawley, West Sussex, when the person, who was wearing a black mask or a balaclava, tried to grab his shoulder at about 5.20pm on Sunday.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: "He managed to run away and alert his mum."

Detective Sergeant Karrie Bohanna said: "The boy did exactly the right thing by telling his mum immediately and she rang us. The boy wasn't sure if the person who grabbed him was a man or woman as they had their face covered with a black mask or balaclava. He describes them as around 6ft and wearing black gloves.

"The Mill Pond area was very busy at this time and the suspect would have had to pass a lot of people. We have had no further calls about other children being approached but we are keen to hear from anyone who might have seen something suspicious.

"Were you in the area between 5pm and 5.30pm and saw someone wearing a black balaclava and black clothes?

"Thankfully the boy was unharmed and is being looked after by his family."