Police call for calm as 'abduction' fears build in Neath community
POLICE have appealed for calm in a Neath community caught up in a wave of hysteria following the April Jones abduction.
Rumours of attempted child abductions have been spreading across the Cimla area through social networking sites, and two children have come forward to report suspicious incidents.
But police say they have thoroughly investigated both complaints and have found absolutely no evidence to back them.
They are now urging people to disregard the rumours and are sending specialist officers into schools to explain to children that they have nothing to fear.
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Neath sector inspector Huw Griffiths said: "Last Thursday a 10-year-old girl reported being involved in a suspicious incident on Afan Valley Road, near the Cimla Hotel and the supermarket.
"This report was thoroughly investigated. It was said to have happened in a very busy area at a very busy time, 5.15pm to 5.30pm, yet we were unable to find a single witness.
"We then had a second report at the same location, this time involving a 12-year-old boy.
"The complaint came via his mother. Again, we spoke to the boy at length and we are satisfied there was no serious incident."
Mr Griffiths said rumours of attempted child abductions were circulating in the Cimla area through social media sites including Twitter and Facebook.
Police, he said, would be sending out their own messages of reassurance that there had been no such incidents anywhere in the South Wales Police force area.
School liaison officers would also be going into schools to reassure pupils, parents and staff.
Mr Griffiths said police were keeping an open mind as to why the two children had come forward with their claims.
"It could have been that nothing happened or something completely innocent occurred that they misinterpreted," he added.
"If there is a genuine incident or people have concerns then it is vitally important they come to us.
"But in this case we have to call for calm. People do not need to be nervous. There is nothing to suggest there is anything going on."
Meanwhile, police in Carmarthen have moved to reassure parents at a primary school following messages on the internet warning of a "suspicious white van" following children in the area.
Richmond Park School has also sent letters to parents to put them at ease.
Numerous posts have been made on Facebook warning of a van following children in the Park Hall and Belvedere Avenue areas.
Inspector Steve Lee said: "Having investigated the report, we do not have any evidence to suggest that the circumstances surrounding this matter are suspicious."