Police have issued a warning to parents and stepped up patrols after receiving five reports of van drivers approaching children in the Deepings.
Inspector Mike Burnett, who is investigating the incidents, said the force was taking each report very seriously and has urged parents and schools to be vigilant and report any incidents.
The first happened on Wednesday last week at about 4.30pm when an 11-year-old girl was approached by a man driving a white van in Thackers Way, Market Deeping.
Since then four more incidents have been reported in the town and Deeping St James, in which a man, sometimes two, has approached youngsters in a white van. In some instances, children have been asked to get into the van after being asked for directions.
Insp Burnett said: “Our patrols have increased around schools in the morning, when schools finish and in the evenings because we are very concerned.
“The children involved have been very frightened and very scared, and we are treating all incidents very seriously.
“When victims come forward we will use our expertise and everything in our power to catch these perpetrators.
“If anyone sees any suspicious activity, I would be grateful if they take down the vehicle’s registration number and phone us immediately on 999.”
Speaking after the fourth incident, a woman who knows one of the girls who was approached but who did not want to be named, said: “Everybody is worried about it.
“I’m not letting my daughter out on her own, but there’s a lot of police activity in the village and that’s reassuring.”
Two girls ran into the Deepings Youth Centre after they were approached by a van driver at about 7.15pm on Monday, in Crowson Way, Deeping St James.
The pair said they were followed by the van before the driver opened the door to them.
Speaking about the incident Paul Hanson, senior youth worker at Deepings Youth Centre in Eastgate, Deeping St James, said: “Obviously we’re all a bit concerned.
“I don’t know whether the man is trying to scare the children or it’s something more sinister but we do not want to find out really.
“The girls were quite shaken but they ran in to report it to us and we reported it to the police straight away.
“We’re asking people to either come to the club in groups or get lifts from parents.
“We just hope the police catch them.”
Police are urging parents not to panic, but to be vigilant and to give their children the usual common sense stranger danger advice.
Insp Mike Burnett is urging anyone who witnesses any suspicious activity in the Deepings area to call 999. Anyone with information about the incidents reported should call police on 101.
List of incidents
Wednesday, November 27
An 11-year-old girl was approached by a man driving a van in Thackers Way, Market Deeping, at about 4.30pm. The man, who was described as being of muscular build with a white baseball cap on, tried to entice her into his vehicle. Police incident number 81 of November 28.
Thursday, November 28
Two men in a white van approached a 12-year-old boy and tried to entice him into their vehicle in Millfield Road, Market Deeping, at about 3.10pm on Thursday last week.
On the same day a 15-year-old girlsaid she believed she was being followed by a man in the Burchall Close area of Deeping St James.
Two girls said they were approached by a van driver at about 7.15pm in Crowson Way, Deeping St James. The pair said they were followed by the van before the driver opened the door to them. Police incident number 368 of December 2.
This latest incident took place at around 7pm when two men in a white van asked a 17-year-old girl to get into the vehicle in Thackers Way, Deeping St James. The girl refused and left the area. Police incident number 403 of December 3.