Ashburton police are on the hunt for a man who attempted to abduct an 8-year-old girl in Ashburton yesterday.

Last night police were interviewing Allenton residents in the Harrison and Smitheram streets area after being alerted to the alleged incident about 4.15pm.

Senior Sergeant Mark Offen told the Ashburton Guardian the young girl was "grabbed'' from the end of her driveway on Harrison St.

"He's then manhandled her to Smitheram St where he has tried to put her into a dark green car,'' Mr Offen said.


He said the girl managed to break free from the offender and run to safety, while the man took off in the car.

"She's a brave wee girl.''

Police had last night spoke to the girl's mother, who was "obviously upset with what has taken place''.

They also interviewed residents in the area, with the busy Allenton Shopping Centre just over 100 metres from where the offender parked the car.

A Harrison St resident, who witnessed the girl shortly after the alleged attempted abduction, said she saw the "visibly upset girl'' talking to a woman.

The resident was on her way to the Allenton Four Square.

"I presume the woman would have asked what happened because I heard the girl say he had dark hair,'' the 24-year-old said.

"This is a mixed community, but I would definitely call it a safe one. This is out of the ordinary and you wouldn't expect this to happen here.''

Mr Offen said police wanted to hear from anyone who had information into the incident on 307-8400 or anonymously on Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.