An Auckland schoolboy was approached by an unknown man in a white van yesterday, in what is suspected to be an attempted abduction.
A warning has gone out to all schools in the Northcote area of Auckland's North Shore following the incident - the second known incident in the past few weeks.
The 11-year-old boy was walking to Northcote Intermediate School on a busy commuter route yesterday morning when a stranger in a white van asked him if he wanted a ride.
The boy declined and continued walking along Lake Rd, later telling his parents who informed his school.
The incident had raised concerns, Northcote Intermediate School principal Ben Kelsey said, as it took place close to Northcote Primary school, where students were approached in similar circumstances last month.
In that incident, a child riding a bike to school was also approached by a stranger in a van. The child's parents were close behind and "saw the whole thing unfold", Kelsey said.
However, it was "probably drawing a bit of a long bow" to suggest the two incidents were carried out by the same person, Kelsey said.
Police and the school community have been informed of the incidents, with an email being sent to parents last night, and local primary schools were also informed.
Police are expected to visit the schools to reiterate messages about suspicious approaches, Kelsey said.
The school would ensure pupils knew they could talk to staff if something happened, he said.
"It's making sure the kids have good relationships with staff and they feel happy to come and talk to staff, make sure they're able to talk to their parents," he said.
"It's just making sure there's clear lines of sight for kids so they've got people they can come and talk to, people they trust. And make sure they report it, because if we don't know about it we can't do anything, and we can't make the rest of the community aware."
He added: "It is concerning, but I feel comfortable with our kids knowing what to do."
The Northcote Intermediate boy was approached on Lake Rd close to the Tennis Club and primary school. A man in a white van asked him if he wanted a ride, Kelsey said.
He did not have a clear description of the man.
It was not known whether there was any CCTV footage of the incident, but it took place on a busy road during peak times.
"It's very busy and at that time of the day there's lines of traffic, there's roadworks going on down there, there's all sorts of stuff happening," Kelsey said.
"How our kids get to school, it's not like they're going through walkways and paths and that type of thing, it's main roads."
North Shore acting prevention manager senior sergeant Scott Cunningham said police were investigating the incident after it was reported yesterday afternoon.
"Yesterday morning at approximately 8.45am, an 11-year-old boy has been walking to school on Lake Rd, Northcote, when he has been approached by a male in a van who asked him if he wanted a ride to school," he said in a statement.
"The boy has declined and the van has driven off."
The van was described by the boy as white, possibly with a flat roof.
Anyone with information is asked to contact North Shore Policing Centre on 09 477 5004.
Last November, an 11-year-old boy was abducted and sexually assaulted in Ranui, West Auckland, as he walked home from school.
The boy was missing for four hours, before being dropped back in the Ranui area.
The investigation is still on-going, and police have yet to identify the abductor, described as a man in a grey van.
"We acknowledge the community interest and concern in this investigation, however we must reiterate that it is a sensitive matter, and our priority is the ongoing welfare of the victim," detective senior sergeant Jason McIntosh said in a statement to the Herald.
"Any information that can be shared with the public will be shared, but at this stage we can only reiterate that this is an ongoing investigation and inquiries are continuing."
A Givealittle page set up to raise money for the boy and his family has so far raised almost $14,000.
It was one of a spate of incidents in the West Auckland area late last year. In the first nine months of 2016, there were 84 child abductions.