GARDAI have moved to allay public fears following a number of incidents in which young boys were reportedly approached in recent days by the occupants of a white van.
Gardai have confirmed they are investigating two separate incidents which occurred in Limerick over the past week.
Rumours spread like wildfire on the internet and in particular on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter at the weekend sparking fears amongst the public for their children’s safety over alleged ‘abduction attempts.’
Limerick’s Live 95FM was also inundated with texts and phone calls from concerned parents who became aware of the rumours.
Supt Dan Keane of Roxboro garda station confirmed that gardai are “actively investigating” two incidents after receiving complaints from the parents of the boys, who were aged around 12 or 13.
The first incident happened at around 5.30pm on Thursday, September 6 in the Fedamore area. “A young boy was walking towards the Post Office in Fedamore when a white van, possibly a Ford Transit, pulled up along side him. The driver of the van asked him if he wanted a lift. The boy declined the lift and continued to the post office,” explained Sgt Brian Broderick who added that the boy was approached again a short time later.
“When he left the post office, the van again approached him. There were two men in the front of the van and they again asked him if he wanted a lift. A third man opened the back door of the van and asked the boy to get in,” he said. However, the boy refused to get into the van, which then drove away.
Gardai at Ballyneety garda station have viewed CCTV and they have spoken to a number of people as part of their inquiries..
The second incident took place at shortly before 3pm last Saturday, September 8, when four youths were walking on Lord Edward Street near the city centre.
Again, a white van with tinted side windows pulled in and blocked their path. Although the driver of the van rolled down the window he did not speak to any of the youths as they walked passed.
“The driver of the vehicle was described as being about 30 years old, he was thin, had short black hair and wore jeans and a yellow t-shirt. There were two other males in the van.” Said Sgt Broderick.
Supt Keane said both incidents are being treated seriously by gardai and he is appealing to anyone who has information to contact the gardai in confidence.
It is understood other incidents, which were also reported on the Internet have since proven to be false alarms.