Police are searching for a man who reportedly encouraged a young boy to get into a van.

The incident took place between 2.15pm and 3.15pm on Tuesday (August 8) in Vere Road, Loughton, near the junction with Willingale Road.

Three boys, aged 11, walking along the road, reported that a black or brown van decorated with thin white lines and yellow writing, pulled up alongside them.

As the van pulled up, the driver sounded the horn six times.

Two of the boys then ran off, while one of the boys was spoken to by a man driving the van.

The man told the boy that his mum was on the phone and that he should get in the vehicle so he could speak to her. The boy then ran away unharmed.

DC Ben Elliott, of Loughton CID, said: “This is being investigated thoroughly and we want anyone who may have witnessed the incident to get in touch with us.

“We urge parents to ensure their children are aware of stranger danger and to report any suspicious activity to us.

“It should also be highlighted that this is believed to be an isolated incident and therefore we do not wish to alarm anyone.”

  • Anyone with information is asked to contact Loughton CID on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.